Joseph Mallord William Turner

The Column of Marcus Aurelius and the Piazza Colonna, Rome; and a Mountainous Scene


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 189 × 113 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CXCI 82

Catalogue entry

This page contains two distinct sketches. At the bottom of the page is a rough unidentified drawing of a road leading toward hills or mountains. Meanwhile, the clearer and more detailed study at the top represents the Column of Marcus Aurelius, an ancient Roman triumphal column which stands in the Piazza Colonna in Rome.1 The artist’s viewpoint is from the eastern corner of the piazza looking towards the Palazzo Chigi (right), the Palazzo Montecitorio (centre) and the Palazzo del Vicegerente (left). The meaning of Turner’s inscription ‘19’ on the column itself is unclear, although it perhaps mistakenly refers to the number of stages of bas-reliefs spiralling surrounding the shaft (actually twenty). Further sketches and notes pertaining to the monument can be found on folios 13, 87, 89, 90 and the inside back cover (D16508, D16632, D16635, D16637 and D40957).

Nicola Moorby
February 2011

First identified by Powell 1984, p.431.

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