Joseph Mallord William Turner

Studies of Sculptural Fragments from the Sala di Fauno of the Palazzo Nuovo in the Capitoline Museums, Rome


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 101 × 161 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CLXXX 56

Catalogue entry

In addition to sketching in the Vatican Museums, Turner made a thorough study of the ancient Greek and Roman sculptures in the Palazzo Nuovo of the Capitoline Museums. The drawings on this page represent works from the Sala di Fauno (Hall of the Faun), so called because of the statue placed in the centre of the room in 1817. The majority of the subjects were first identified by Cecilia Powell. The studies are numbered from top left to bottom right:
The sketch in the top left-hand corner represents a detail from the back of an altar dedicated to Jupiter Optimus Maximus Sol Sarapis.1 The drawing, which represents an oak wreath tied with ribbons, is annotated with the number ‘3’. Further studies of the altar can be seen on folios 57 verso–58 (D15215–D15216; Turner Bequest CLXXX 56a–7).
The sketch across the top right-hand corner of the page represents the lid of an Amazon sarcophagus, decorated with sculptural reliefs of captive and mourning Amazons, interspersed with weaponry.2 The object originally displayed in the Sala di Fauno (although today it can be found in the Galleria) can be seen in a near-contemporaneous drawing by James Hakewill (1778–1843), Rome. Antiques of the Capitol 1817 (British School at Rome Library).3
The sketch in the centre of the page, second from the top, represents the ornamental top of the cinerarium of Antonia Helene.4 The decoration comprises double volutes with rosettes and palmettes.
The sketch in the bottom right-hand corner represents part of an Altar of Neptune, inscribed ‘ARA NEPTVNI’.5
The sketch in the bottom left-hand corner, parallel with the bottom edge, depicts a Hercules herm.6 The drawing is annotated with the number ‘2’.
Turner has inscribed some of his studies with the contemporary exhibit numbers of the objects. These date from 1816 when the return to Rome of works spoliated by Napoleon occasioned a complete reorganisation of the Capitoline Museums. The new arrangement was first published in Agostino Tofanelli’s, Catalogo delle sculture antiche e de’quadri esistenti nel Museo e Galleria da Campidoglio (1817).

Nicola Moorby
November 2009

H. Stuart Jones, A Catalogue of the Ancient Sculptures preserved in the Municipal Collections of Rome. The Sculptures of the Museo Capitolino, Oxford 1912, ‘Stanza del Fauno’ no.1A, p.310, reproduced pl.83. See also the Capitoline Museums online collection records,, accessed November 2009.
Powell 1984, p.420; Jones 1912, ‘Stanza del Fauno’ no.18, p.323, reproduced pl.81. See also
See Tony Cubberley and Luke Herrmann, Twilight of the Grand Tour: A Catalogue of the drawings by James Hakewill in the British School at Rome Library, Rome 1992, no.5M.29, reproduced p.328.
Jones 1912, ‘Stanza del Fauno’ no.22a, p.326, reproduced pl.82. See also
Powell 1984, p.420; Jones 1912, ‘Stanza del Fauno’, no.23a, p.327, reproduced pl.80. See also
Powell 1984, p.420; Jones 1912, ‘Stanza del Fauno’ no.15, p.321, reproduced pl.80. See also

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