Joseph Mallord William Turner

Rocca Pia, Tivoli


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 112 × 186 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CLXXIX 75

Catalogue entry

The subject of this faint outline sketch is the Rocca Pia at Tivoli, a massive fortress with four crenallated towers, built by Pope Pius II in 1461.1 The study depicts the castle from the east with the largest tower in the background on the left. Faintly indicated in the bottom left-hand corner are the arches of the Acquedotto Rivellese, a sixteenth-century aqueduct built by Cardinal Ippolito II d’Este to supply water to the Villa d’Este. The aqueduct was demolished at the beginning of the twentieth century. Further views of the Rocca Pia can be found on folio 68 verso, 74 verso–76, 82 verso, 83 verso (D15055, D15065–D15069, D15082, D15084; Turner Bequest CLXXIX 68a, 73a–5, 81a, 82a). As a young man, Turner made copies of related views by other artists, see Dr Monro’s Album of Italian Views (Tate D36453 and D36454; Turner Bequest CCCLXXIII 40).

Nicola Moorby
February 2010

Compare a watercolour by Friedrich Horner (1800–1864), Il Castello di Tivoli 1850, reproduced in colour in Silvia Visino, I Pittori del Grand Tour: Viaggio a Roma alla ricerca delle aure, Latina 1994, no.55, p.90.

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