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

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner Inscriptions by Turner: Notes on Ancient Architecture c.1808-11

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Folio 9 Recto:
Inscriptions by Turner: Notes on Ancient Architecture circa 1808–11
Turner Bequest CXIV 9
Pen and ink on white wove paper, 117 x 87 mm
Part watermark ‘tman | 8’
Inscribed by Turner in ink (see main catalogue entry)
Inscribed by John Ruskin in red ink ‘9’ top right, ascending vertically
Stamped in black ‘CXIV – 9’ top right, ascending vertically
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
At the top of the page, turned vertically, is a brief note:
The tomb of Augustus was | [?intended] to be crownd by a colossal | statue
This passage concludes a short sequence running beginning on folio 10 recto (D07973) and continuing on the verso of the present leaf (D07972). Maurice Davies was unable to identify the source of these notes ‘on ancient sculpture’,1 but they may relate to Turner’s Royal Academy perspective lectures, delivered at the Royal Academy from January 1811 onwards (see the Introduction to the sketchbook).
The first Roman emperor, Augustus, built his mausoleum, an artificial mound with concentric walls on a circular plan in Rome around 28 BC; its substantial remains still stand in the Piazza Augusto Imperatore. There have been various attempts to establish its original appearance, crowned either by a statue of Augustus alone or in a quadriga (a chariot drawn by four horses).2

Matthew Imms
January 2012

Davies 1994, p.290.
See ‘Ara Pacis Augustae: Piazza Augusto Imperatore: Mausoleo di Augusti’, Reed Digital Collections, accessed 10 August 2011, http://cdm.reed.edu/ara-pacis/meier/piazza-augusto-imperatore/mausoleo/; and John Pollini, Lynn Swartz Dodd, Karen Kensek and Nicholas Cipolla, ‘Problematics of Making Ambiguity Explicit in Virtual Reconstructions: A Case Study of the Mausoleum of Augustus’, CHArt: Computers and the History of Art, accessed 10 August 2011, http://www.chart.ac.uk/chart2005/papers/pollini.html.

How to cite

Matthew Imms, ‘Inscriptions by Turner: Notes on Ancient Architecture c.1808–11 by Joseph Mallord William Turner’, catalogue entry, January 2012, in David Blayney Brown (ed.), J.M.W. Turner: Sketchbooks, Drawings and Watercolours, Tate Research Publication, December 2012, https://www.tate.org.uk/art/research-publications/jmw-turner/joseph-mallord-william-turner-inscriptions-by-turner-notes-on-ancient-architecture-r1134747, accessed 27 January 2022.