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Turner’s inscription in the bottom left-hand corner of this page reveals his viewpoint for this sketch as Santa Maria del Priorato, the Church of the Knights of Malta situated on the Aventine Hill in Rome. From this elevated position he has drawn the view looking south towards the River Tiber. The small hill left of centre is Monte Testaccio, an artificial mound constructed from a Roman pottery dump, whilst the arches in the centre of the sketch are part of a stretch of the Aurelian walls which ran from the Porta San Paolo to the Tiber and could still be seen during the nineteenth century. Sketches of this part of the city from the opposite bank of the river can be found in the St Peter’s sketchbook (see Tate D16253; Turner Bequest CLXXXVIII 54). Meanwhile, Turner went on to draw the view from Monte Testaccio on the next pages of this sketchbook, see folios 6 verso–8 (D16495–D16498).
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