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By the nineteenth century, exploration of the city’s environs had become as much part of the Roman experience as its architecture and monuments. Turner made a large number of studies of the landscape north of Rome and many of the views within this sketchbook appear to relate to a single perambulation from Sant’Agnese fuori le mura to Ponte Sant’Angelo, by way of the ancient Ponte Molle, also known as the Ponte Milvio (for further information see the sketchbook introduction). The subject of this sketch is a view of the River Tiber looking downstream towards the heart of the city. Turner’s viewpoint is a location on the eastern bank near present-day Ponte Regina Margherita and the Porta del Popolo. Various landmarks can be seen in the distance including on the far right the Castel Sant’Angelo and the dome of St Peter’s. Related sketches can be found on folios 55 and 57 (D16477 and D16480; Turner Bequest CXC 61 and 63).
Like many drawings within this sketchbook, the composition has been executed over a washed grey background. Turner has created areas of pale highlights by lifting or rubbing through to the white paper beneath, principally to delineate reflections on the surface of the water and cloud formations in the sky.