Joseph Mallord William Turner

Inside the Theatre at Herculaneum

1819

In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Graphite on paper
Dimensions
Support: 113 x 189 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D15889
Turner Bequest CLXXXV 80 a

Catalogue entry

The subject of this sketch appears to be a curving vaulted corridor with some roughly defined sculptural and architectural details. The scene almost certainly relates to Turner’s exploration of the theatre at Herculaneum which in 1819 was virtually the only part of the archaeological site where anything could be seen. The building still lay underground but could be accessed through eighteenth-century tunnels which had been cut into the volcanic matter. For a fuller description see folio 86 (D15896; Turner Bequest CLXXXV 84).

Nicola Moorby
November 2010

Read full Catalogue entry

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