Joseph Mallord William Turner

Studies of Sculptural Fragments and Reliefs from the Vatican Museums, Including an Aedicule and Pediment, and the Grave Altar of Manlia Iucunda


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 10

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 contains sketches of various objects, most or all of which were probably found in the Galleria Lapidaria (Lapidary Gallery) of the Museo Chiaramonti. The studies are numbered from top left to bottom right:
Cecilia Powell has identified this sketch as an Aedicule and Pediment,1 formerly in the Galleria Lapidaria (Lapidary Gallery).2 The study includes the Latin inscription ‘GENS’ at the top of the pediment. The aedicule is known as the ‘Nicchia di Todi’, and today it can be found in the Vestibolo of the Scala del Bramante (Hall of the Bramante Staircase).3
This is a detail from one of the decorative capitals from the Aedicule (see above).
This is a detail of one of the decorative relief panels on the side of the Aedicule (see above). The sketch is inscribed above ‘D Fish Crab D of’, next to a detail of a fish.
From the transcribed inscription Cecilia Powell has identified this sketch as part of the Grave altar of Manlia Iucunda,4 from the Galleria Lapidaria (Lapidary Gallery).5 The Latin text reads ‘MANLIA . SEVERA | MANLIALIV CVNDAE | NUTRICI’.
The subject of the sketch in the bottom left-hand corner is currently unidentified although it appears to depict part of a grave altar decorated with a sculptural relief of a griffin.

Nicola Moorby
November 2009

Powell 1984, p.412.
See Walther Amelung, Die Sculpturen des Vaticanischen Museums, Berlin 1903–8, vol.I, ‘2. Galleria Lapidaria Seite 161–308’, nos.91 and 91a, pp.232–4, reproduced pl.25.
Giandomenico Spinola, Il Museo Pio-Clementino, vol.I, Vatican City 1996, no.VB 10, reproduced fig.3, pp.30–1.
Powell 1984, p.412.
See Amelung 1903–8, vol.I, no.111c, p.247, not reproduced.

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