Joseph Mallord William Turner

View of the Forum, Rome, Looking towards the Capitol and the Arch of Septimius Severus


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 24

Catalogue entry

This page contains a view of the north-west end of the Forum, probably drawn from a point near the Temple of Castor and Pollux. In the background is the Capitol with the back of the Palazzo Senatorio and in the foreground are the ancient monuments of the Forum, from left to right, the Temple of Saturn, the Temple of Vespasian, the Column of Phocas and the partially excavated Arch of Septimius Severus. The composition of the drawing is similar to another sketch in the Albano Nemi Rome sketchbook, (see Tate D15355; Turner Bequest CLXXXII 32). See this entry for a general discussion of the buildings and Turner’s sketches of the Forum.
Cecilia Powell has noted that this drawing relates to the background composition for Turner’s large oil painting, Forum Romanum, for Mr Soane’s Museum exhibited 1826 (Tate N00504).1

Nicola Moorby
September 2008

Martin Butlin and Evelyn Joll, The Paintings of J.M.W. Turner, revised ed., New Haven and London 1984, no.233; Powell 1984, p.255.

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