J.M.W. Turner: Sketchbooks, Drawings and Watercolours

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner Sailing Boat at the Porto di Ripa Grande, Rome 1819

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Folio 55 Recto:
Sailing Boat at the Porto di Ripa Grande, Rome 1819
Turner Bequest CLXXXVIII 55
Pencil on white wove paper, 114 x 189 mm
Inscribed by the artist in pencil ‘Wilson’ above horizon of landscape sketch at top
Stamped in black ‘CLXXXVIII 55’ bottom right
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
The largest drawing on this page is a detailed record of a sailing boat in the Porto di Ripa Grande, the busiest and most important port in Rome, situated on the western banks of the Tiber between modern day Ponte Sublicio and Ponte Palatino. Turner depicts a cargo ship which has probably come up the river towards the city to dock outside the Dogana di Mare (Marine Custom-house). In addition to the main sketch he has made separate studies of the prow and the rudder. Behind the boat, on the opposite side of the river, can be seen a section of the Aurelian walls near the Porta San Paolo and the Pyramid of Cestius. For other views of the port see folio 54 verso (D16258; Turner Bequest CLXXXVIII 56a).
There is a smaller sketch at the top of the page which shows some ruins amidst a landscape. This may depict the Navali Antichi, the remains of the landing quay of ancient Rome, situated on the eastern bank of the river opposite the Ripa Grande.1 The scene appears to have reminded Turner of the work of Welsh landscape painter Richard Wilson (1713–1782) whose name he has inscribed above the line of the horizon.

Nicola Moorby
September 2008

William Cadell, A Journey in Carniola, Italy and France in the Years 1817, 1818, Edinburgh 1820, vol.I, p.419.

How to cite

Nicola Moorby, ‘Sailing Boat at the Porto di Ripa Grande, Rome 1819 by Joseph Mallord William Turner’, catalogue entry, September 2008, in David Blayney Brown (ed.), J.M.W. Turner: Sketchbooks, Drawings and Watercolours, Tate Research Publication, December 2012, https://www.tate.org.uk/art/research-publications/jmw-turner/joseph-mallord-william-turner-sailing-boat-at-the-porto-di-ripa-grande-rome-r1139765, accessed 25 June 2018.