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

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner Ponte Molle, Rome 1819

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Folio 14 Recto:
Ponte Molle, Rome 1819
Turner Bequest CLXXXVIII 14
Pencil on white wove paper, 114 x 189 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
This is a small sketch of the Ponte Molle, Rome, an ancient crossing also known as the Ponte Milvio, which carried the Via Flaminia across the Tiber into Rome. Famous as the site of the deciding battle between Emperors Constantine and Maxentius in 312 AD, the bridge was also the entry and exit point for British tourists to and from the city during the nineteenth century. Despite their diminutive scale Turner’s drawings clearly show the bridge’s four central arches (there were also two smaller arches at either end not clearly visible from a distance) and the entrance tower on the northern end (left) which had been rebuilt in 1805.1 As a young man, Turner had made a number of watercolour copies of images of the bridge with his contemporary, Thomas Girtin for Dr Monro’s Album of Italian Views, 1794–6 (see Turner Bequest CCCLXXIII 30–32; Tate D36443–5). For a general discussion see folio 36 (D16217).

Nicola Moorby
September 2008

For a detailed sketch of the bridge prior to 1805 see William Marlow (1740–1813), Ponte Molle, pencil on paper, Tate T09173.

How to cite

Nicola Moorby, ‘Ponte Molle, Rome 1819 by Joseph Mallord William Turner’, catalogue entry, September 2008, 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-ponte-molle-rome-r1139692, accessed 28 May 2024.