Joseph Mallord William Turner

Tomb of the Plautii and Ponte Lucano, near Tivoli

1819

In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Graphite on paper
Dimensions
Support: 112 × 186 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D15038
Turner Bequest CLXXIX 60

Catalogue entry

The subject of this sketch is the Tomb of the Plautius family (or Tomb of the Plautii), a cylindrical first-century funerary monument of Travertine stone, which stands on the Via Valeria, approximately two miles west of Tivoli. When travelling on the road from Rome to Tivoli it was one of the first sights to relieve the featureless plain of the Campagna, and, in conjunction with the adjacent Ponte Lucano, it represented a popular subject for artists. Turner himself made over twenty variant studies during his visit to Tivoli, see folio 27 verso (D14975). The twenty-mile journey would have been covered by carriage. However, the large number of sketches of the bridge and Plautian tomb indicate that Turner was afforded enough time to fully explore the site from a number of different angles, on foot, as well as from the road. This view depicts the approach from the north-east and therefore may represent a drawing taken during the return journey from Tivoli to Rome.

Nicola Moorby
January 2010

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