Joseph Mallord William Turner

St Peter’s, from the Eastern Slopes of the Monte Mario, Rome


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
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 13

Catalogue entry

Turner made a number of on-the-spot sketches and more elaborate drawings of the view of Rome from Monte Mario. This page depicts part of the view looking south towards St Peter’s and the Castel Sant’Angelo, from a point close to the Villa Madama, a sixteenth-century suburban residence built on the eastern slopes of Monte Mario, see folio 13 verso (D16182).
As Finberg identified, the viewpoint of this sketch is very close to a more detailed tonal composition in the Roman Colour Studies sketchbook (Turner Bequest CLXXXIX 31; Tate D16357).1 This in turn provided the basis for a finished watercolour, Rome, from Monte Mario c.1820 (private collection), painted on the artist’s return to England, for his friend and patron, Walter Fawkes.2 Turner reproduces the same vista in the watercolour, looking down from the slopes of the hill onto the roof of a small villa, with a dense copse of cypress trees to the right of the composition above. It is also interesting to note the inclusion of a figure in the bottom right-hand corner of the sketch. In the finished landscape Turner inserted a more elaborate motif of a boy playing a double pipe to a seated woman, a detail which adds human interest to the scene.
For a general discussion of Turner’s views from Monte Mario see folio 9 verso (D16174).

Nicola Moorby
September 2008

Finberg 1909, vol.I, p.558
Andrew Wilton, The Life and Work of J.M.W. Turner, Fribourg 1979, no.719.

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