Joseph Mallord William Turner

Porto di Ripa Grande, Rome


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 114 × 189 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CLXXXVIII 56 a

Catalogue entry

The busiest and most important port in Rome was the Ripa Grande situated on the western banks of the Tiber between present-day Ponte Sublicio and Ponte Palatino. Turner’s sketch, drawn from north looking downstream shows cargo shipping docked in front of the customs house of the port. The tall slender column in the centre is a lighthouse, constructed on the orders of Pope Pius VII in about 1814–15.1 Much of the Ripa Grande port, including the lighthouse, was demolished during 1888 to make way for modern walls and embankment flood defences.2 In the distance on the right is Santa Maria del Priorato, the Church of the Knights of Malta situated on Mount Aventine on the opposite bank of the river.
Other views of the Ripa Grande can be seen in the Albano, Nemi, Rome sketchbook (Tate D15373; Turner Bequest CLXXXII 41a) and the Rome and Florence sketchbook (Tate D16492–3; Turner Bequest CXCI 5–5a).

Nicola Moorby
September 2008

Jeremiah Donovan, Rome, Ancient and Modern, and its Environs, Oxford 1843. vol.3, p.1019.
Federica D’Orazio, Rome Then and Now, London 2004, pp.122–3.

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