Joseph Mallord William Turner

Studies of Sculptural Fragments from the Vatican Museums, Including Two Sketches of a Faun and Nymph, and Two Sketches of the Sarcophagus of Endymion and Selene


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 49

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 objects found in the Museo Pio-Clementino. The studies are numbered from top to bottom:
Cecilia Powell has identified the sketches at the top of the page as two variant views of a statuary group of a faun and a nymph.1 Turner has annotated the drawing with the number ‘154’.
Powell has identified the subject of the two central sketches as the Sarcophagus of Endymion and Selene.2 The object can be found in the sixth bay of the Galleria dei Candelabri (Gallery of Candelabra, formerly known as the Galleria delle Miscellanee). Turner has annotated the drawing with the number ‘137’.
The sketch at the bottom of the page represents a marble amphora decorated with a frieze of figures, found in the sixth bay of the Galleria dei Candelabri.3
Turner’s annotations presumably relate to exhibit numbers displayed on the individual works. However, they do not appear to correspond to any known lists published within contemporary guide books or catalogues of the Vatican collections.

Nicola Moorby
November 2009

Powell 1984, p.418; see Salomon Reinach, Répertoire de la Statuaire Grecque et Romaine, vol. I, Paris 1897, p.410, no.1728, reproduced pl.721.
Powell 1984, p.418; see Salomon Reinach Répertoire de Reliefs Grecs et Romains, vol.3, Paris 1912, no.365, 1–3.
Georg Lippold, Die Skulpturen des Vaticanischen Museums, vol.III, no.2, Berlin 1956, no.26, p.431, reproduced pl.182 and Giandomenico Spinola, Il Museo Pio-Clementino, vol.III, Vatican City 1999, no.GCSVI 26, pp.351–2, reproduced fig.38.

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