Joseph Mallord William Turner

Sketches of Roman Aqueducts: including ?the Arcus Neroniani near the Porta Maggiore


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

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Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 113 × 189 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CLXXXII 54

Catalogue entry

The subject of the succeeding page within this sketchbook, see folio 55 verso (D15400; Turner Bequest CLXXXII 54a), suggests that these sketches of aqueducts could depict stretches of the Aqua Claudia (Claudian Aqueduct) found near the Porta Maggiore area of the city. In particular, the right-hand side of the sketch at the top where the spaces of the arches alternate between small and wider, and tall and narrow, seem to correspond with a section which still exists, known as the Arcus Neroniani or Caelimontani. This branch of the Aqua Claudia which runs south-west of the Porta Maggiore, also known as Porta Praenestina, towards San Giovanni in Laterano along the present-day via Statilia was built by the emperor Nero to supply water to the Domus Aurea (Golden House) and later altered to reach the Coelian and Aventine Hills.1

Nicola Moorby
May 2008

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