Joseph Mallord William Turner

Two Views of the Basilica, Pompeii


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

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 113 x 189 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CLXXXV 14

Catalogue entry

Turner made a large number of studies of different parts of the ruins in Pompeii. This page contains two variant sketches of the Basilica, a building dedicated to the administration of justice which was erected adjacent to the south-west corner of the Forum. The upper drawing depicts the view looking east along the nave of the Basilica towards the Forum. On the left-hand side is the surviving part of the stucco plaster wall and the column bases of the inner portico, whilst in the centre is the entrance colonnade and, beyond that, the portico of the Forum (which in the present day has been partially restored to a two-tier colonnade). Fragments of Ionic and Corinthian capitals are scattered in the right-hand corner.
The lower drawing meanwhile represents the view looking in the opposite direction, west towards the tribunal (a raised covered area where the magistrates sat).
For further sketches and a general discussion of Turner’s visit to Pompeii see the introduction to the sketchbook.

Nicola Moorby
September 2010

Read full Catalogue entry

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