Turner’s inscription by underneath the uppermost sketch identifies the subject of these five landscape views as the Aqueduct of Nero (Arcus Neroniani), a branch of the ancient Aqua Claudia which ran from the Porta Maggiore to the Palatine Hill in Rome. Ruined stretches of the aqueduct can still be seen today near San Giovanni in Laterano. The rough nature of Turner’s draughtsmanship, and the inclusion of five successive studies on one page suggests that they were executed from a moving carriage.
In the top right-hand corner of the page, Turner has also noted ‘Effect of Sirocco’, which refers to the climatic and atmospheric conditions he was witnessing. The sirocco is a warm, humid wind which blows across the Mediterranean from North Africa often causing autumnal wet and thundery conditions in Italy.