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Turner painted this picture during his stay in Rome in 1828. More than most of his Italian landscapes, it describes the actual appearance of a particular place: Turner made several sketches of Orvieto on his journey to Rome. However, the final painting blends this description with the compositions Turner admired in the work of the seventeenth-century classical landscape painter, Claude Lorrain.

This is one of a small group of paintings which Turner showed in an exhibition he held at his lodgings in Rome in 1828, though he re-worked it before showing it in London two years later.

September 2004