Joseph Mallord William Turner

Studies of Sculptural Fragments and Reliefs from the Vatican Museums, Including an Ornamental Capital and the Gravestone of T. Fl. Iulius


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 a

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 found in the Museo Chiaramonti. The studies are numbered from top left to bottom right:
Cecilia Powell has identified the three ornamental components within the sketch at the top as details of a capital from the Museo Chiaramonti.1
Powell has furthermore identified the bottom sketch as the Gravestone of T. Fl. Iulius,2 from the Galleria Lapidaria (Lapidary Gallery) of the Museo Chiaramonti.3 Turner has transcribed the Latin inscription from the front of the monument as ‘D M | T. Fl. IVLIO. SESQ. EQSING | AVG. TVR. VLPI. ITALICI.NAT | NORICVS. VA XXX MILA. | XIII T AVRELIVS. VICTORINV | VIXILARIVS. HET. T. FL. FLOREN | TINVS MIL.CO H. X I. VRBANAE.SEC | H AMICO OPTIMO | FAC . CVR’. The first part translates as ‘D[is] M[anibus]’, ‘To the spirits of the departed’, and is a common phrase found on Roman funerary monuments.

Nicola Moorby
November 2009

Powell 1984, p.412; reproduced in Walther Amelung, Die Sculpturen des Vaticanischen Museums, Berlin 1903–8, vol.I, pl.69, bottom centre.
Powell 1984, p.412.
See Amelung 1903–8, vol.I, ‘2. Galleria Lapidaria Seite 161–308’, no.137, l, p.268, reproduced pl.28.

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