Like many eighteenth- and nineteenth-century visitors to Rome, part of Turner’s exploration of the city included the panoramic views seen from certain elevated vantage points. One of the most famous of these was the Janiculum Hill, a ridge of high ground to the west of the River Tiber which offered sweeping vistas across the historical centre of the capital. Although a particularly popular viewpoint was the one found near the grounds of the Villa Lante, Turner chose to sketch from a position further north along the hill, near the oak of Torquato Tasso. He made a series of drawings looking north-west, north and north-east from the Janiculum, see folios 1 verso–2 (D16158–D16159) and folios 3 verso–4 (D16162–D16163), before swinging across to look east, south-east and south, see folios 2 verso–3 (D16160–D16161) and folios 4 verso–5 (D16164–D16165).1
This page is dominated by the steep slope of the Janiculum Hill which culminates in a crest of cypress trees on the far right-hand side. The visible landmarks include (from left to right) the Church of San Pietro in Montorio, the Fontana dell’Acqua Paola and the Villa Aurelia (now the American Academy in Rome). In the foreground Turner has indicated the curved terraced seating of the Teatro Alla Quercia del Tasso, a small open-air theatre near Tasso’s oak. The view continues on the opposite sheet of the double-page spread, see folio 2 verso (D16160). For a discussion of other views from the Janiculum see the entry for folio 2 (D16159).
Powell 1987, p.106.