Joseph Mallord William Turner

Sketches of the Villa Adriana, Tivoli: including Details of the Large Baths and Praetorium


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 112 x 186 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CLXXIX 33 a

Catalogue entry

Turner’s trip to Tivoli in 1819 included a detour to the Villa Adriana (Hadrian’s Villa), approximately one mile south-west of the town. He made several swift studies of the key buildings of interest, see folio 32 verso (D14985). This page records elements of several different parts. As Cecilia Powell first identified, the sketches in the top right-hand and bottom left-hand corners represent the Large Baths (Grande Terme) and the Praetorium (a pavilion with a panoramic view overlooking the estate) seen from a location on the path leading towards the Canopus.1 Similar views can be seen on folios 32 verso–33 (D14985–D14986). The sketch in the bottom right-hand corner appears to indicate the end corner of Praetorium seen from a point to the north of the vast substructures. Meanwhile, the details in the top left-hand corner depict part of the surviving decorative ceiling vault from one of the rooms in the Large Baths.2 The same fragment appears in a drawing by John Downman (1750–1824), In Hadrian’s Villa, Tivoli 1774 (Tate, T10434).

Nicola Moorby
January 2010

Powell 1984, p.410.
See William L. Macdonald and John A. Pinto, Hadrian’s Villa and Its Legacy, New Haven and London 1995, fig.188, p.[156].

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