Joseph Mallord William Turner

View of the Aurelian Walls, Rome, with the Temple of Minerva Medica and the Porta San Lorenzo


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite and watercolour on paper
Support: 130 × 255 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CXC 29

Catalogue entry

This sketch depicts a view of the Aurelian Walls in Rome. Turner’s location is not, as Finberg suggested near the Protestant Cemetery, but north-east of the centre of the city, near the Church of San Lorenzo fuori le mura. Visible beyond the line of the walls are various landmarks including (from left to right): the Claudian Aqueduct; the bell-tower of Santa Croce in Gerusalemme; the roof of the circular Temple of Minerva Medica; and on the far right, the Porta San Lorenzo (also known as the Porta Tiburtina). Like many drawings within this sketchbook, the pencil work has been executed over a washed grey background.
Related compositions can be found on folios 64 verso–65 (Tate D16436–D16437; Turner Bequest CXC 27a–8) and in the Albano, Nemi, Rome sketchbook (see Tate D15432–D15434; Turner Bequest CLXXXII 70a–71a). There is also a coloured version of the subject in the Rome C. Studies sketchbook (Tate D16363; Turner Bequest CLXXXIX 36).
Blank except for traces of grey watercolour

Nicola Moorby
June 2009

Read full Catalogue entry

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