These two landscape sketches depict views of Albano, a town situated within the Alban hills approximately fifteen miles south of Rome, overlooking the lake of the same name. The sketch at the top adopts a popular viewpoint looking from the grounds of the Church of the Cappuccini towards the Church of San Paolo and the ruins of the Roman amphitheatre. The same prospect can be seen in a watercolour by Richard Colt Hoare, View of Albano 1787 (Thomas Ashby Collection, Vatican Library),1 and in a coloured aquatint by John Izard Middleton published in Grecian Remains in Italy: A Description of Cyclopian Walls and of Roman Antiquities, with Topographical and Picturesque Views of Ancient Latium, London 1812.2 Another sketch of the subject can be found on folio 26 verso (D15344). The church was rebuilt during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries and its appearance today is very different from that recorded by Colt Hoare and Turner.
On the left-hand side of this page Turner has drawn three young females (or perhaps the same girl from the side and back). The women appear to be wearing a style of dress fashionable in Europe during the early nineteenth century i.e. an empire line bodice (high waist) and capped sleeves. The figure on the far right also seems to be wearing a chequered headscarf. Turner often made swift notes of local costumes during his travels.
Reproduced in colour in Raymond Keaveney, Views of Rome from the Thomas Ashby Collection in the Vatican Library, exhibition catalogue, Smithsonian Institution, Washington 1988, p.279.
Reproduced Charles R. Mack and Lyn Robertson (ed), The Roman Remains: John Izard Middleton’s Visual Souvenirs of 1820–1823 with Additional Views in Italy, France and Switzerland, South Carolina 1997, p.21.