Some of the most famous panoramas of Rome could be seen from the heights of Monte Mario, a hill to the north of the city. This rough sketch depicts a sweeping view of approximately ninety degrees looking south-east from the Villa Madama, a sixteenth-century estate built for the Medici family on the eastern slopes of the hill. It is extremely close in composition to a watercolour by John Robert Cozens, Villa Madama, Rome 1791 (Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester).1 A more detailed version of the subject can be found on another sheet now detached from the sketchbook, see folio 48 (D16377). See this entry for a more detailed discussion of Turner’s depictions of the Villa Madama and Monte Mario.
Like many pages within this book, the drawing has been executed over a washed grey background and Turner has created areas of pale highlights by rubbing through to the white paper beneath.
Reproduced in colour in Anna Ottani Cavina, Un Paese Incantato: Italia Dipinta da Thomas Jones a Corot, exhibition catalogue, Galeries nationales du Grand Palais, Parigi and Palazzo Te, Mantova, Italy 2001, p.42, no.26.
Blank except for traces of grey watercolour wash; inscribed by an unknown hand(s) in pencil ‘clxxxix 57’ and ‘nr Tivoli?’ bottom right and ‘57?’ bottom left, ascending left-hand edge.