Joseph Mallord William Turner

View of Tivoli with the So-Called Temples of Vesta and the Sibyl


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 112 × 186 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CLXXIX 86 a

Catalogue entry

This page contains a distant view of Tivoli from the north-east, looking from a point on present-day Via Quintilio Varo, on the lower slopes of Monte Catillo. The ancient ruined temples of the Acropolis, the so-called Temple of Vesta and the Temple of the Sibyl, can be seen silhouetted against the horizon on the right.
Turner made several sketches from this viewpoint, see folios 40 verso–42 verso (D15001–D15005), the Tivoli sketchbook (Tate D15468, D15488, D15500–D15502; Turner Bequest CLXXXIII 2, 22, 33–5), and in the Naples: Rome C. Studies sketchbook (Tate D16116 and D16118; Turner Bequest CLXXXVII 28 and 30). He also repeated the vista during his 1828 visit to Tivoli, see the Roman and French sketchbook (Tate D21912; Turner Bequest CCXXXVII 35a). The composition is similar to that of an early oil painting, Tivoli and the Roman Campagna circa 1798 (Tate, N05512),1 which was itself based upon a version of a picture by the eighteenth-century Welsh artist, Richard Wilson (1713–1782), for example, Temple of the Sibyl and the Roman Campagna circa 1765–70 (Tate, T01706).

Nicola Moorby
February 2010

Martin Butlin and Evelyn Joll, The Paintings of J.M.W. Turner, revised ed., New Haven and London 1984, no.44.

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