At the time of Turner’s visit to Pompeii, one of the most impressive and recently excavated areas was the Forum. The artist made a number of studies of this part of the site from a number of different angles, see folios 12 verso–15, 20 verso–21, 22 verso, 23 verso (D15760–D15764, D15775–D15776, D15779, D15781). This sketch depicts a view of the southern end of the Forum with the Basilica on the right and Monte Faito and the Sorrentine peninsula in the distance beyond. The composition continues on the opposite sheet of the double-page spread, see folio 22 (D15778), where Turner’s viewpoint is revealed to be the eastern exterior wall of the Temple of Jupiter.
For further sketches and a general discussion of Turner’s visit to Pompeii see the introduction to the sketchbook.