Joseph Mallord William Turner

Distant View of Rome from the North with the Ponte Molle


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite and watercolour on paper
Support: 130 × 255 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CXC 66

Catalogue entry

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 (for further information see the sketchbook introduction). The subject of this sketch is a distant view of Rome seen from a point to the north of the Ponte Molle, an ancient bridge also known as the Ponte Milvio, which can be seen in the centre of the drawing. In the background can be seen the silhouettes of the Castel Sant’Angelo and the dome of St Peter’s, whilst the area of high ground topped by trees to the right is Monte Mario. Like many drawings within this sketchbook, the composition has been executed over a washed grey background. For further studies of the Ponte Molle see folio 53 (D16475; Turner Bequest CXC 59).
Finberg associated this page with the Third Loan Collection, a group of seventy-one works chosen by Ralph Nicholson Wornum for exhibition in the provinces during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.1 Unfortunately, in common with many of the sketches and watercolours chosen for display, the work has suffered from overexposure to light and the paper has become irreversibly faded and discoloured.
Warrell 1991, pp.46–9.
Inscribed by ?John Ruskin in red ink ‘784’ bottom left and by an unknown hand in pencil ‘CXC–66’ bottom centre

Nicola Moorby
June 2009

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