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

Joseph Mallord William Turner Studies of Sculptural Fragments and Reliefs from the Vatican Museums, Including a Sarcophagus of a Girl 1819

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Folio 14 Recto:
Studies of Sculptural Fragments and Reliefs from the Vatican Museums, Including a Sarcophagus of a Girl 1819
D15129
Turner Bequest CLXXX 13
Pencil on paper 101 x 161 mm
Inscribed by John Ruskin in red ink ‘13’ bottom left, descending left-hand edge
Stamped in black ‘CLXXX 13’ bottom left, descending left-hand edge
 
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
During his 1819 stay in Rome, one of Turner’s most extensive sketching campaigns was the large number of pencil studies made from the sculpture collections of the Vatican Museums (for a general discussion, see the introduction to the sketchbook). This page contains sketches of three objects, one or all of which were probably in the Museo Chiaramonti. The studies are numbered from top left to bottom right:
a.
Cecilia Powell has identified the top sketch as the sarcophagus of a girl,1 in the Galleria Lapidaria (Lapidary Gallery) of the Museo Chiaramonti.2 The object is decorated with sculptural reliefs of nymphs, amorini, and fish, as well as two centaurs bearing a portrait shield.
b.
The subject of the sketch in the bottom left-hand corner is currently unidentified but appears to depict the outline of a grave altar or other funerary monument.
c.
The sketch at the bottom of the page depicts a fragment of a flat piece of marble bearing the design of a mythical beast, part horse and part sea creature, from the collections of the Museo Chiaramonti.3

Nicola Moorby
November 2009

1
Powell 1984, p.413.
2
See Walther Amelung, Die Sculpturen des Vaticanischen Museums, Berlin 1903–8, vol.I, ‘2. Galleria Lapidaria’, no.192a, pp.299–300, reproduced pl.29.
3
See Amelung 1903–8, vol.I, ‘3. Museo Chiaramonti I’, p.417, as ‘d) (under No. 167)’, reproduced in pl.43, bottom left.

How to cite

Nicola Moorby, ‘Studies of Sculptural Fragments and Reliefs from the Vatican Museums, Including a Sarcophagus of a Girl 1819 by Joseph Mallord William Turner’, catalogue entry, November 2009, in David Blayney Brown (ed.), J.M.W. Turner: Sketchbooks, Drawings and Watercolours, December 2012, https://www.tate.org.uk/art/research-publications/jmw-turner/joseph-mallord-william-turner-studies-of-sculptural-fragments-and-reliefs-from-the-vatican-r1139541, accessed 20 December 2014.