Joseph Mallord William Turner

View of the River Tiber from the North, with the Castel Sant’Angelo and St Peter’s in the Distance


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 63

Catalogue entry

By the nineteenth century, exploration of the city’s environs had become as much part of the Roman experience as its architecture and monuments. Turner made a large number of studies of the landscape north of Rome and many of the views within this sketchbook appear to relate to a single perambulation from Sant’Agnese fuori le mura to Ponte Sant’Angelo, by way of the ancient Ponte Molle, also known as the Ponte Milvio (for further information see the sketchbook introduction). The subject of this sketch is a view of the River Tiber looking downstream towards the heart of the city. Turner’s viewpoint is a location on the eastern bank near present-day Ponte Giacomo Matteotti. Various landmarks can be seen in the distance including the Castel Sant’Angelo and on the far right, the dome of St Peter’s. Related sketches can be found on folios 55 and 56 (D16477 and D16478; Turner Bequest CXC 61 and 62).
Like many drawings within this sketchbook, the composition has been executed over a washed grey background. Turner has created areas of pale highlights by lifting or rubbing through to the white paper beneath, principally to delineate reflections on the surface of the water and cloud formations in the sky.
Blank except for traces of grey watercolour
Inscribed by ?John Ruskin in red ink ‘781’ bottom left

Nicola Moorby
June 2009

Read full Catalogue entry

You might like

In the shop