Joseph Mallord William Turner

Study of a Waterfall, Tivoli


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 253 × 200 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CLXXXIII 28

Catalogue entry

One of the greatest natural spectacles at Tivoli was the multitude of waterfalls caused by the waters of the River Aniene plunging into the valley to the north of the town. Turner has exploited the dark washed grey ground of this sketchbook page to create a swift, evocative study of one of the cascades. He has created the impression of falling water and fine spray (known as polvere dell’acqua, or dust of the water) by scratching, rubbing or lifting out the watercolour wash to reveal the white paper beneath. Soft, dark pencil-work provides the suggestion of rocks. Similar naturalistic effects can be found throughout this sketchbook, particularly on folio 15 (D15481), and in the Naples: Rome C. Studies sketchbook (D16146–D16147; Turner Bequest CLXXXVII 58–9).
Blank, except for traces of grey watercolour wash

Nicola Moorby
February 2010

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