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This page contains two views related to Turner’s return journey between Naples and Rome. The lower vista represents the bay and headland of Gaeta seen from Mola di Gaeta (present-day Formia) to the north. The bay sweeps round in a great curve towards the headland and the so-called mausoleum of Munatius Plancus, also known as the Torre d’Orlando, built on the summit of the hill above. A small part of the composition spills over onto the opposite sheet of the double-page spread, see folio 21 (D15948; Turner Bequest CLXXXVI 20). The prospect is almost identical to that in a drawing by James Hakewill (1778–1843), Mola di Gaeta 1816 (Library of the British School at Rome),1 engraved for the Picturesque Tour of Italy (published 1820), a project for which Turner had also contributed illustrations in 1819. It is extremely likely therefore that he would have seen Hakewill’s study prior to his own Italian tour. Furthermore, as a young man, Turner had made a watercolour copy of a similar view by another artist, see Dr Monro’s Album of Italian Views (Tate D36469; Turner Bequest CCCLXXIII 56). Related sketches dating from the outward trip to Naples can be found in the Gandolfo to Naples sketchbook (Tate D15606–D15607 and D15609–D15610; Turner Bequest CLXXXIV 25a–26 and 27–27a).
At the top of the sheet is an inverted sketch representing a view of Ariccia, a town approximately thirteen miles south-east of Rome.2 The town is seen from the south-east with the Church of Santa Maria dell’Assunzione on the left and on the Palazzo Chigi on the right. An alternative view can be seen on folio 16 verso (D15939; Turner Bequest CLXXXVI 16a). For a more detailed discussion and sketches of Ariccia see the Albano, Nemi, Rome sketchbook (Tate D15455; Turner Bequest CLXXXII 82a).