Joseph Mallord William Turner

Sketches and Notes Relating to Paintings in the Galleria Borghese, Rome


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Support: 115 × 94 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CXCIII 2 a

Catalogue entry

As the inscription in the top left-hand corner suggests, this page contains sketches and notes related to paintings seen by Turner in the Galleria Borghese, the art collection housed in Villa Borghese, Rome. Cecilia Powell first identified the individual subjects of each reference:
An inscription near the top left-hand corner, underneath ‘Borghese P[alace], appears to read ‘Dolci of [F...]’. The note is accompanied by a very schematic unidentified drawing.
The inscription near the top left-hand corner, ‘Two of Mgl Angle on a gold gd’, refers to a pair of paintings representing the apostles, St Peter and St Paul. Now attributed to an unknown Roman master, the paintings, which have gold grounds, were formerly believed to be the work of Michelangelo.1
The inscription, ‘albberuno [two encircled diagrams] 4’, refers to the four mythological paintings of Venus and Diana by Francesco Albani (1578–1660).2 The diagrams probably represent some form of shorthand notation.
d. The sketch annotated ‘Padova’ depicts the painting, Minerva dressing herself, 1613.3 Formerly attributed to Padovanino, it is now believed to be the work of Lavinia Fontana (1552–1614).
The subject of the sketch near the centre right-hand edge is a painting by Giovanni Lanfranco (1582–1647), Norandino and Lucina Surprised by the Ogre, 1624.4 It is not clear why Turner has labelled the drawing ‘P di Cotone’, ie. Pietro da Cortona.
Powell has suggested that the group of figures near the centre left-hand edge represents Bernardino Cesari’s (1568–1640) painting, Diana and Actaeon, ?circa 1603–6.5
The sketch at the bottom of the page depicts the central and right-hand foreground figures from a painting by Veronese (1528–88), St John the Baptist Preaching, 1562.6 Powell has suggested that an echo of this pose may be found within the woman kneeling before a monk in Turner’s later painting, Forum Romanum 1826 (Tate, N00504).7
Further studies and comments relating to the Galleria Borghese can be found on folios 4 verso–5 and 6 verso (D16767–D16768, D16771).

Nicola Moorby
February 2011

Powell 1984, pp.157 and 432 and Powell 1987, p.[67]. Reproduced in Paola della Pergola, Galleria Borghese: I Dipinti, Rome 1955–9, vol.I, nos.142–3.
Powell 1984, p.432 and Powell 1987, p.66. Reproduced in Pergola 1955–9, vol.I, nos.1–4.
Identified by Powell 1984, p.432. Reproduced in Pergola 1955–9, vol.I, no.44, fig.45.
Powell 1984, p.432. Reproduced in Pergola 1955–9, vol.I, no.89.
Powell 1984, p.432. Reproduced in Pergola 1955–9, vol.II, no.124.
Powell 1984, pp.162 and 432. Reproduced in Pergola 1955–9, vol.I, no.242.
Powell 1984, p.162; Martin Butlin and Evelyn Joll, The Paintings of J.M.W. Turner, revised ed., New Haven and London 1984, no.233.

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