Joseph Mallord William Turner

Studies of Sculptural Fragments and Reliefs from the Vatican Museums, Including the Sarcophagus of a Boy

1819

In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Graphite on paper
Dimensions
Support: 161 × 101 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D15126
Turner Bequest CLXXX 11 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, 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:
a.
The head of a lion from an unidentified source.
b.
The second sketch from the top appears to depict an unidentified sarcophagus decorated with a relief of figures within an arcade and set upon a base ornamented with griffins.
c.
Cecilia Powell has identified this sketch as a sarcophagus of a boy,1 from the Galleria Lapidaria (Lapidary Gallery) of the Museo Chiaramonti.2
d.
The bottom sketch appears to depict a fragment of sculptural relief, decorated with figures and a stylised leaf motif. The object is currently unidentified.

Nicola Moorby
November 2009

1
Powell 1984, p.413.
2
See Walther Amelung, Die Sculpturen des Vaticanischen Museums, Berlin 1903–8, vol.I, ‘2. Galleria Lapidaria Seite 161–308’, no.188, p.296, reproduced pl.29.

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