Joseph Mallord William Turner

Sketches from the Esquiline Hill, Rome, including San Pietro in Vincoli and the Baths of Titus and Trajan


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

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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 91

Catalogue entry

Turner made a number of sketches depicting views from the Esquiline Hill in Rome, see folios 90 verso–92 (D16322–D16325; Turner Bequest CLXXXVIII 89a–91). This page contains several inverted studies of various buildings and monuments which could be seen in, or near, this part of the city. In the top left-hand corner are two drawings depicting the Torre dei Capocci, a medieval tower on the Via Cavour, near the Church of San Martino ai Monti. To the right of this is the apse of the Church of San Pietro in Vincoli (St Peter in Chains) seen from the west. The other sketches represent Roman ruins including the Baths of Titus and Trajan which lie between the Caelian and Esquiline Hills, and surviving sections of the Aqua Claudia (Claudian Aqueduct). The inscription ‘Martyr Quattro’ refers to the convent of Santi Quattro Coronati, an ancient church which could be seen from the Esquiline Hill, mid-distance between the Colosseum and the Basilica of San Giovanni in Laterano. The name derives from four anonymous Christian saints, traditionally Roman soldiers martyred by Emperor Diocletian. For a detailed sketch of the building see folio 90 verso (D16322; Turner Bequest CLXXXVIII 89a). Finally, the details on the far right-hand side of the page appear to belong to the composition on the opposite sheet, see folio 91 verso (D16324; Turner Bequest CLXXXVIII 90a).

Nicola Moorby
January 2009

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