This sketch depicts the countryside on the northern outskirts of Rome with the meandering course of the River Tiber and the distant line of the Alban mountains. Turner’s viewpoint is from an area of high ground now occupied by the Villa Glori park, looking up-river, away from the direction of the Ponte Molle and the city. On the far right-hand side is the Fontana dell’Acqua Acetosa, a seventeenth-century fountain designed by Andrea Sacchi which still survives today, see folio 40 verso (D16225; Turner Bequest CLXXXVIII 39a). The tower visible on the left-hand side is possibly the Tor di Quinto, one of a number of towers built in this area of the Campagna by Leo IV (Pope, 847–855 AD) for the protection of the city.1 In the far distance on the right it is just possible to make out the forms of the Ponte Salario and Torre Salario, near the confluence of Anio and Tiber rivers. The composition is continued on the opposite sheet of the double-page spread, see folio 39 verso (D16223; Turner Bequest CLXXXVIII 38a). Turner made a number of sketches of this part of the Campagna, possibly inspired by its associations with Nicolas Poussin and Claude Lorrain, see folio 36 (D16217; Turner Bequest CLXXXVIII 35). A similar view can be found on folio 41 (D16226; Turner Bequest CLXXXVIII 40).
Raymond Keaveney, Views of Rome from the Thomas Ashby Collection in the Vatican Library, exhibition catalogue, Smithsonian Institution, Washington 1988, p.232.