Joseph Mallord William Turner

Various Sketches Including Two Landscape Views of the Via Appia and Tor Tre Ponti

1819

In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Graphite on paper
Dimensions
Support: 101 x 161 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D15110
Turner Bequest CLXXX 3 a

Catalogue entry

In addition to using the Vatican Fragments sketchbook to record details of art and architecture in Rome, Turner also appears to have employed it on several occasions during his journey to or from Naples. The two landscape sketches on this page appear to relate to views from the Via Appia, the road which leads south from Rome. The rough and shaky nature of Turner’s draughtsmanship suggests that he was working from a moving carriage. The upper drawing appears to depict part of a ruined aqueduct with the distant dome of St Peter’s on the horizon to the left. The inscription within the lower sketch meanwhile identifies the subject as Tor Tre Ponti (also known as Treponti), a small village on the Via Appia where it passes through the Pontine Marshes between Rome and Terracina. The promontory of Monte Circeo is visible as an outline in the distance. Further sketches can be found in the Gandolfo to Naples sketchbook (Tate D15582; Turner Bequest CLXXXIV 14a) and the Naples, Paestum, Rome sketchbook (Tate D15974; Turner Bequest CLXXXVI 32). Compare also a near-contemporaneous drawing by James Hakewill, Torre dei Tre Ponti and commencement of the Braschi Avenue 1817 (British School at Rome Library).1
The sketch in the bottom right-hand corner appears to represent an unidentified fragment of sculpture or painting. It spills over onto the opposite sheet of the double-page spread, see folio 4 (D15111).

Nicola Moorby
December 2009

1
Tony Cubberley and Luke Herrmann, Twilight of the Grand Tour: A Catalogue of the drawings by James Hakewill in the British School at Rome Library, Rome 1992, no.5.36, p.262 reproduced.

Read full Catalogue entry

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