Joseph Mallord William Turner

The Campagna near Tivoli, with the So-Called Tempio della Tosse and a Distant View of Rome


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 200 × 253 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CLXXXIII 12

Catalogue entry

The subject of this drawing is a view of the plain of the Campagna to the west of Tivoli. The ground slopes away on the right to the wooded valley north of the town, with the Ponte dell’Acquoria and the meandering course of the River Aniene. The circular structure on the left-hand side of the composition is the so-called Tempio della Tosse (Temple of the Cough), believed to be the vestibule of a Roman villa, situated near the Santuario di Ercole Vincitore (Sanctuary of Hercules Victor), formerly known as the Villa of Maecenas. The road leading away from the ruin is the present-day Strada degli Orti, which joins the Via Tiburtina towards Rome and leads the eye of the viewer, first to the cylindrical sepulchre, the Tomb of the Plautii in the middle distance, and ultimately to the distant dome of St Peter’s, just visible on the horizon. A sketch of the vista looking in the opposite direction can be found on folio 13 (D15479).
Like many drawings within this sketchbook, the composition has been executed over a washed grey background. Turner has created highlights by rubbing or lifting out the wash to reveal the white paper beneath, principally to delineate the sky above the horizon in the west, and the winding river.
Blank, except for traces of grey watercolour wash
Inscribed by ?John Ruskin in red ink ‘357’ bottom left, and by an unknown hand in pencil ‘83’ centre

Nicola Moorby
February 2010

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