Joseph Mallord William Turner

Lecture Diagram 48: Pedestal of the Column of Antoninus Pius


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

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Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite and watercolour on paper
Support: 642 × 982 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CXCV 95

Catalogue entry

The Column of Antoninus Pius, Rome, was dedicated to that Emperor in 161 AD by his successors Marcus Aurelius and Lucius Verus. It was erected near the hill of Monte Citorio. Having become partly buried it was excavated and lifted but further damaged and dismantled. The base was restored, and erected in the Piazza di Montecitorio in 1741, but was later taken to the Vatican Museums and now stands outside the entrance. Turner shows two sides, to the left right that depicting the apotheosis of Antoninus, in which a winged genius carries the Emperor and his wife Faustina heavenwards, and to the right the dedicatory inscription. In Diagram 49 (Tate D17066; Turner Bequest CXCV 96), which he seems to have traced to make the guiding lines for the present drawing, Turner showed the pedestal and the relief of cavalry and soldiers on the other side.
Turner’s draft for Lecture 4 as Professor of Perspective at the Royal Academy1 contains a discussion of the pedestal.
Turner, ‘Royal Academy Lectures’, circa 1807–38, Department of Western Manuscripts, British Library, London, ADD MS 46151 M folio 32 verso.
Technical notes:
Peter Bower states that the sheet is a heavily trimmed Antiquarian size Whatman paper made by William Balston and Finch and Thomas Robert Hollingworth at Turkey Mill, Maidstone, Kent.1
Bower 1990, p.111 note 1; and Notes in Tate catalogue files.
Blank, save for an inscription by an unknown hand in pencil ‘95’ bottom left

Andrea Fredericksen
June 2004

Supported by The Samuel H. Kress Foundation

Revised by David Blayney Brown
January 2012

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