Joseph Mallord William Turner

View of the Northern Edge of Tivoli


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 255 × 403 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CLXXXVII 26

Catalogue entry

The subject of this drawing is a view of the northern edge of Tivoli from a point near present-day Ponte San Martino and the so-called Temple of Vesta. Turner’s vista looks west with the town on the left and the landscape sloping away into the valley of the River Aniene on the right. Prominent in the middle distance is a medieval watch-tower which stands near the Piazza dell’Olmo (present-day Piazza Domenico Tani), above the cascatelli (or cascatelle), the lesser cascades of the river, and just visible in the centre is the top of the campanile of the Cathedral (Duomo) of San Lorenzo. In the far distance is the flat plain of the Roman Campagna, rising on the right towards the conical peaks of the Montes Corniculani.
Unlike the watercolour or tonal studies on grey watercolour wash elsewhere in this sketchbook, Turner’s focus here is the accurate mapping of Tivoli’s topography with no indication of naturalistic or atmospheric effects.
Blank, save for being stamped in black ‘CLXXXVII 26’ and Turner Bequest monogram bottom left.

Nicola Moorby
February 2010

Read full Catalogue entry

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