The subject of this study is the ancient convent of Santi Quattro Coronati (or Four Crowned Saints and Martyrs) as seen from the Esquiline Hill to the north. Built in the fourth or fifth century, the church lies on the north side of the Caelian Hill, mid-distance between the Colosseum and the Basilica of San Giovanni in Laterano. Turner’s sketch depicts the high apse rounded apse on the right and the tower above the main entrance to the left. Compare a similar composition by Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres (1780–1867), View of the Cloister of SS. Quattro Coronati c.1806–20 (Musée Ingres, Montauban, France).1 See also folio 92 (D16325; Turner Bequest CLXXXVIII 91).
Turner made a number of sketches depicting the view in different directions from the Esquiline Hill, see folios 90 verso–92 (D16322–D16325; Turner Bequest CLXXXVIII 89a–91).
See Hans Naef, Ingres in Rome, exhibition catalogue, National Gallery of Art, Washington 1971, pp.72–3, no.83, reproduced.