Joseph Mallord William Turner

View of Tivoli from the North-East


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 253 × 196 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CLXXXIII 22

Catalogue entry

This page contains a distant view of Tivoli seen from the road skirting the end of the valley to the north-east, on the slopes of Monte Catillo. Visible in the centre of the prospect is the so-called Temple of Vesta, a circular ruin dating from the first century BC, which stands on the edge of the gorge at the northern edge of the town, near the former falling point of the ‘Great Cascade’ of the River Aniene. Silhouetted against the horizon on the right-hand side meanwhile are the campanile of the Cathedral (Duomo) San Lorenzo, and a medieval watch-tower positioned above the falls of the cascatelli (or cascatelle), the lesser cascades. Similar vistas can be seen on folios 18, 33, 34, 35, 78, 80 (D15484, D15500, D15501, D15502, D15550, D15552), as well as the Tivoli and Rome sketchbook (Tate D15000–D15005 and D15092; Turner Bequest 40–42 verso and 86a), and in a watercolour study in the Naples: Rome C. Studies sketchbook (Tate D16116; Turner Bequest CLXXXVII 28). Today, the same view of Tivoli is dominated by the great waterfall of the Villa Gregoriana, created by the diversion of the river away from the residential district after a devastating flood in 1826.
Like many drawings within this sketchbook, the composition has been executed over a washed grey background. Turner has created highlights within the work by rubbing or lifting out the wash to reveal the white paper beneath, principally to depict the river, the silvery streams of the town’s waterfalls and the suggestion of foliage within the wooded slopes in the foreground.
Blank, except for traces of grey watercolour wash
Inscribed by ?John Ruskin in red ink ‘361’ bottom left, and by unknown hand(s) in pencil ‘361’ top right, and ‘?No’ bottom left, and ‘clxxxiii-22?’ bottom left

Nicola Moorby
February 2010

Read full Catalogue entry

You might like

In the shop