J.M.W. Turner: Sketchbooks, Drawings and Watercolours

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner Castellated Ruins: ?Study for 'Caligula's Palace and Bridge' c.1830

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Folio 32 Verso:
Castellated Ruins: ?Study for ‘Caligula’s Palace and Bridge’ c.1830
Turner Bequest CCCLXIII 31a
Pencil on white wove paper, 76 x 98 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Finberg thought that the castellated structures here and on folio 33 recto opposite (D35816; Turner Bequest CCCLXIII 32) were parts of a ‘ruined abbey’,1 but the presence on the other page of an overall study for Turner’s large classical painting Caligula’s Palace and Bridge, exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1831 (Tate N00512),2 suggests that the artist was drawing on his knowledge of Roman remains from his extended tours of Italy in 1819 and 1828 to concoct structures to include in the complex, somewhat fanciful architectural array of the finished design.
See also folios 6 verso and 7 recto (D35768–D35769); the latter features an elaborate study of ruins used as the centrepiece of the painting.

Matthew Imms
September 2016

Finberg 1909, II, p.1178.
Martin Butlin and Evelyn Joll, The Paintings of J.M.W. Turner, revised ed., New Haven and London 1984, pp.189–90 no.337, pl.339 (colour).

How to cite

Matthew Imms, ‘Castellated Ruins: ?Study for ‘Caligula’s Palace and Bridge’ c.1830 by Joseph Mallord William Turner’, catalogue entry, September 2016, in David Blayney Brown (ed.), J.M.W. Turner: Sketchbooks, Drawings and Watercolours, Tate Research Publication, December 2016, https://www.tate.org.uk/art/research-publications/jmw-turner/joseph-mallord-william-turner-castellated-ruins-study-for-caligulas-palace-and-bridge-r1183777, accessed 05 December 2021.