Joseph Mallord William Turner

Studies of Sculptural Fragments from the Sala di Fauno of the Palazzo Nuovo in the Capitoline Museums, Rome


View this artwork by appointment, at Tate Britain's Prints and Drawings Rooms

Graphite on paper
Support: 161 x 101 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CLXXX 55

Catalogue entry

In addition to sketching in the Vatican Museums, Turner made a thorough study of the ancient Greek and Roman sculptures in the Palazzo Nuovo of the Capitoline Museums. The drawings on this page represent works from the Sala di Fauno (Hall of the Faun), so called because of the statue placed in the centre of the room in 1817. All of the subjects were first identified by Cecilia Powell. The studies are numbered from top left to bottom right:
The subject of the sketch in the top left-hand corner is a draped female herm.1 The sculpture is a funerary monument and bears an inscription to ‘Ella Petrofila’, which Turner has transcribed as ‘¿¿¿¿¿ ¿¿¿¿¿F¿¿¿’ The drawing is annotated with the numbers ‘1298’ and ‘8’.
The central sketch at the top represents the altar of the Winds.2 Turner has transcribed the Latin inscription as ‘ARAVENTORVM’.
The sketch in the top right-hand corner represents the altar of Tranquillitas.3 Turner has transcribed the Latin inscription as ‘ARATRANQVILLITATIS’.
The sketches at the bottom page of the page depict the cover of a lid of a sarcophagus decorated with reliefs of Endymion and Selene.4 The line of the relief continues from the right-hand side of the upper row to the left-hand side of the lower. As Powell has pointed out Turner has misleadingly represented the groups of figures beneath the ornamental pediment design, whereas in reality they occupy these spaces.5 Studies of the front of the sarcophagus can be seen on folio 56 verso (D15213; Turner Bequest CLXXX 55a).
Turner has annotated some of his studies with the contemporary exhibit numbers of the objects. These date from 1816 when the return to Rome of works spoliated by Napoleon occasioned a complete reorganisation of the Capitoline Museums. The new arrangement was first published in Agostino Tofanelli’s, Catalogo delle sculture antiche e de’quadri esistenti nel Museo e Galleria da Campidoglio (1817).

Nicola Moorby
November 2009

Powell 1984, p.420; H. Stuart Jones, A Catalogue of the Ancient Sculptures preserved in the Municipal Collections of Rome. The Sculptures of the Museo Capitolino, Oxford 1912, ‘Stanza del Fauno’ no.9, p.317, reproduced pl.79. See also the Capitoline Museums online collection records,, accessed November 2009.
Powell 1984, p.420; Jones 1912, ‘Stanza del Fauno’ no.27a, p.331, reproduced pl.80. See also
Powell 1984, p.420; Jones 1912, ‘Stanza del Fauno’ no.26a, p.330, reproduced pl.80. See also
Powell 1984, p.420; Jones 1912, ‘Stanza del Fauno’ no.3b, p.314, reproduced pl.78. See also
Powell 1984, p.473 note 23.

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