Joseph Mallord William Turner

Ruins on the Palatine Hill, Rome


Not on display

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite and watercolour on paper
Support: 130 × 255 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CXC 43

Catalogue entry

The subject of this sketch is part of the ancient ruins of the Palatine Hill in Rome.1 Turner’s viewpoint is from a point on the south-eastern side of the hill, near the site of the Septizodium Severi, looking towards the substructures of the Palace of Septimius Severus on the left and the crumbling exedra of the Hippodromus Palatii, from the Domus Augustana (part of the Palace of Domitian) on the right. The series of arches in the central foreground represents part of the remains of the Acqua Claudia which stand beside the present-day Via di San Gregorio. Like many drawings within this sketchbook, the composition has been executed over a washed grey background.
For other studies of the Palatine ruins see folios 16 verso–17 and 20 (D16418–D16419 and D16422; Turner Bequest 16a–17 and 20). Related sketches can also be found in the Albano, Nemi, Rome sketchbook (Tate D15391; Turner Bequest CLXXXII 50) and the Rome C. Studies sketchbook (Tate D16383; Turner Bequest CLXXXIX 54).
Compare with the left-hand side of the composition, The Palatine with the Church of San Bonaventura, by an anonymous eighteenth century artist, in Raymond Keaveney, Views of Rome from the Thomas Ashby Collection in the Vatican Library, exhibition catalogue, Smithsonian Institution, Washington 1988, no.17, reproduced p.[101].
Blank except for traces of grey watercolour

Nicola Moorby
June 2009

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