Joseph Mallord William Turner

Studies of Egyptian Artefacts in the Vatican Museums, Including a Torso of the Bull God, Apis, and a Statue of Isis


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 161 × 101 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CLXXX 52

Catalogue entry

During his 1819 stay in Rome, one of Turner’s most extensive sketching campaigns was the large number of pencil studies made from the sculpture collections of the Vatican Museums (for a general discussion, see the introduction to the sketchbook). This page includes sketches of artefacts from the Egyptian collections. After 1839 these were housed in the Museo Gregoriano Egizio (Gregorian Egyptian Museum), founded by Pope Gregory XVI. Turner’s sketches include a torso of a statue of the bull god Apis (second from the right),1 and a statue of the goddess Isis with a child. Turner has labelled the latter ‘1359’ which presumably relates to an exhibit number displayed on the work. However, it does not appear to correspond to any known lists published within contemporary guide books or catalogues of the Vatican collections.

Nicola Moorby
November 2009

Possibly no.5.18 in the Hemicycle of the Museo Gregoriano Egizio, see cat. 22808,>, accessed November 2009.

Read full Catalogue entry

You might like

In the shop