Joseph Mallord William Turner

View of the River Tiber with the Ponte Cestio and Ponte Rotto, Rome


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 113 × 189 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CLXXXII 41

Catalogue entry

The Ponte Cestio bridges the River Tiber between the Isola Tiberina (Tiber Island) and the district on the western bank known as Trastevere. Turner’s sketch shows the view looking north up-river with the bridge in the centre and the island with the dominant campanile of San Bartolomeo all’Isola on the right. The blank space in the centre foreground is the river. Turner must have been standing on the opposite bank of the river near to the present-day Ponte Palatino, level with the broken end of the Ponte Rotto. Along the left bank are a number of monuments and buildings which were demolished during the 1880s in order to build the high walls and flood defences of the present-day embankment.1 These include, to the left of the Ponte Rotto, the Church of San Salvatore de Pede Pontis.2
The view is similar to one drawn by James Hakewill in 1817, View of the Tibur and the ‘Ponte S. Bartolomeo, anciently Pons Cestius’, from the Ponte Rotto (British School at Rome Library), which Turner is likely to have known.3 Hakewill’s drawing was engraved and published in 1823 as part of his Eight Views of Rome. For other sketches of the Isola Tiberina see the St Peter’s sketchbook (Tate D16212; Turner Bequest CLXXXVIII 31) and the Rome and Florence sketchbook (Tate D16488; Turner Bequest CXCI 2).

Nicola Moorby
May 2008

Online exhibition, Trastevere: the transformation of the local community and urban fabric between the 19th century and today, Museo di Roma in Trastevere,, accessed May 2008.
Tony Cubberley and Luke Herrmann, Twilight of the Grand Tour: A Catalogue of the drawings by James Hakewill in the British School at Rome Library, Rome 1992, p.202.
Cubberley and Herrmann 1992, no.3.21, p.202 reproduced.

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