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Cecilia Powell has identified this sketch as a view in the grounds of the Villa Borghese, a large area of parkland north of central Rome, built during the early seventeenth century for Cardinal Scipione Borghese, nephew of Pope Paul V.1 In actual fact the page contains two studies of the Temple of Aescalupius, an Ionic temple built in 1786 by Antonio and Mario Asprucci which stands on the shores of lake in an area to the north-west of the park.2 Both sketches depict the building from the north-east showing the portico on the left and the inner cella housing a statue of the god on the right. In the background on the right can be seen the distant dome of St Peter’s. A more detailed study showing the front of the temple can be found on folio 22 (D16526).
Turner made a number of quick studies of the Borghese gardens with the various architectural features seen through the trees, see for example the St Peter’s sketchbook (Tate D16267–D16270; Turner Bequest CLXXXVIII 61–63). Other sketches of the grounds can be found on folios 21–21 verso and 23 (D16523–D16524 and D16527).
.villaborghese, accessed February 2009. .it /la_villa /arredi_architettonici__1 /tempio_di_esculapio