Joseph Mallord William Turner

View Looking East towards the Colosseum and the Baths of Trajan, Rome


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 114 × 189 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CLXXXVIII 73 a

Catalogue entry

This sketch represents part of a panoramic view looking east towards the Colosseum from a high vantage point just north of the Roman Forum, possibly from the Torre dei Conti. The Colosseum itself dominates the right-hand side of the page and although only briefly outlined, clearly shows the four surviving storeys of the northern half of the structure. The surrounding area to the left includes (from left to right): the ruins of the Domus Aurea and the Baths of Trajan; the remains of the Aqua Claudia (Claudian Aqueduct) near the Porta San Lorenzo; and the circular Temple of Minerva Medica, near present-day Termini Station. In the foreground are some of the columns from the site of the Temple of Venus and Roma, at the eastern end of the Forum. The area today looks very different, transformed during the 1930s by the construction of present-day Via dei Fori Imperiali. The sketch continues on the opposite sheet of the double-page spread, see folio 75 (D16292; Turner Bequest CLXXXVIII 74). Similar views can be found on folios 71 verso and 90 (D16285 and D16321; Turner Bequest CLXXXVIII 70a and 89).

Nicola Moorby
January 2009

Read full Catalogue entry

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