Joseph Mallord William Turner

Landscape Sketches, Including a Tomb at Bovillae and Views of Castel Gandolfo


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 161 × 101 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CLXXX 28

Catalogue entry

In addition to using the Vatican Fragments sketchbook to record details of art and architecture in Rome, Turner also appears to have employed it on several occasions during his journey to or from Naples. This page contains several landscape views which appear to depict sites on or near the Via Appia, the road which leads south out of Rome. The rough nature of Turner’s draughtsmanship, and the way in which the artist has crammed the drawings onto a single page, suggests that they must have been executed at speed, probably from a moving carriage.
Thomas Ashby has identified the subject of the three sketches at the top of the page as a tomb known as the ‘Torraccio’, which stands near Bovillae, an ancient village near the Via Appia.1 He has furthermore identified the three lower sketches as views of Castel Gandolfo from below. For further sketches of Castel Gandolfo see the Albano, Nemi, Rome sketchbook (for example Tate D15326; Turner Bequest CLXXXII 17a) and the Gandolfo to Naples sketchbook (Tate D15562–3; Turner Bequest CLXXXIV 4a–5).

Nicola Moorby
December 2009

Thomas Ashby, unpublished manuscript notes, Turner Bequest Archive, Tate. Reproduced in Oreste Ferrari, Tea Marintelli, Valerie Scott et al., Thomas Ashby: Un Archeologo Fotografa la Campagna Romana Tra ’800 e’900, Rome 1986, p.162, no.125 figs. 1–2.

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