Joseph Mallord William Turner

Studies of Sculptural Fragments from the Vatican Museums, Including Vases and one of the Barberini Candelabra


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 50 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 includes sketches of objects found in the Museo Pio-Clementino. The studies are numbered from top left to bottom right:
The sketch in the top left-hand corner of the page depicts a bell-shaped vase sacred to Diana. The object, decorated with hunting scenes, is found in the fifth bay of the Galleria dei Candelabri (Gallery of Candelabra, formerly the Galleria dei Miscellanee).1 Turner has annotated the drawing with the number ‘1379’.
The sketch in the top right-hand corner depicts an ash urn with a conical lid, which can be found in the second bay of the Galleria dei Candelabri.2 Turner has annotated the drawing with the number ‘1416’.
The sketch in the left-hand centre depicts a vase decorated with sculptural reliefs. The source is currently unidentified. The drawing is annotated with the number ‘1460’.
Cecilia Powell has identified the sketch in the bottom right-hand corner as a candelabrum.3 The object, one of two ‘Barberini’ candelabra found in the Villa Adriana outside of Tivoli, can today be seen in the Galleria delle Statue.4
The sketch in the bottom left-hand corner is a marble calyx crater (or krater, a large open mixing vessel), which can be found on a puteal (wellhead) of Poseidon.5 Today the object can be found at the top of the Scala Simonetti (Simonetti Staircase), at the entrance to the Galleria dei Candelabri.6 Turner has annotated the drawing ‘948’.
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

Georg Lippold, Die Skulpturen des Vaticanischen Museums, vol.III, no.2, Berlin 1956, no.17, p.383, reproduced fig.166 and Giandomenico Spinola, Il Museo Pio-Clementino, vol.II, Vatican City 1999, no.GCV 17, pp.305–6, reproduced figs.32 and 33.
Lippold 1956, no.35, p.180, reproduced fig.79 and Spinola 1999, vol.III, no.GCII, no.35, pp.142–3, reproduced fig.18.
Powell 1984, p.418; see Walther Amelung, Die Sculpturen des Vaticanischen Museums, Berlin 1903–8, vol.II, ‘4. Galleria delle Statue. II’, no.413, p.631, reproduced pl.61.
Spinola 1999, vol.II, no.GS 10, p.17, reproduced fig.1.
Georg Lippold, Die Skulpturen des Vaticanischen Museums, vol.III, no.2, Berlin 1956, no.250a, reproduced fig.23.
Spinola 1999, vol.III, no.SS 6, pp.32–3, reproduced fig.5; see also Salomon Reinach Répertoire de Reliefs Grecs et Romains, vol.3, Paris 1912, 390, 1.

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