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: 101 x 161 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CLXXX 55 a

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 sketches across the top of the page and in the bottom left-hand corner depict the front of a sarcophagus decorated with reliefs of Endymion and Selene.1 The line of the relief continues from the top right-hand side to the left-hand side of the second row. Turner has inscribed the drawing ‘[?Crack]’ at the centre top, and ‘Top 13 | 24’ in the centre of the page. Studies of the lid of the same sarcophagus can be seen on folio 56 (D15212; Turner Bequest CLXXX 55).
The sketches at the bottom centre of the page represent the sculptural relief from the right-hand end of the same sarcophagus in (a.).2
The second sketch from bottom right depicts a detail of a serpent from an Altar to Isis.3
Cecilia Powell has tentatively identified the sketch in the bottom right-hand corner as the figure of the Boy Horus carrying a cornucopia from the left-hand side of the Altar to Isis (see c.).4

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.3a, p.313, reproduced pl.78. See also the Capitoline Museums online collection records,, accessed November 2009.
Powell 1984, p.420; Jones 1912, ‘Stanza del Fauno’ no.3a, p.313, reproduced pl.82. See also
Powell 1984, p.420; Jones 1912, ‘Egyptian Collections’ no.12, p.359, reproduced pl.91. See also The object has a varied display history within the Capitoline Museums but today can be found in the new exhibition space of the Centrale Montemartini.
Powell 1984, p.420; Jones 1912, ‘Egyptian Collections’ no.12 B, p.359, reproduced pl.91.

Read full Catalogue entry