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

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner Sketches Inside the Theatre at Herculaneum 1819

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Folio 87 Recto:
Sketches Inside the Theatre at Herculaneum 1819
D15898
Turner Bequest CLXXXV 85
Pencil on white wove paper, 113 x 189 mm
Inscribed by the artist in pencil ‘Corridor’ above sketch at bottom
Inscribed by ?John Ruskin in blue ink ‘278’ top right, ascending right-hand edge and ‘85’ top left, ascending left-hand edge
Stamped in black ‘CLXXXV 85’ top right, ascending right-hand edge
 
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
As Turner’s inscription indicates, the sketches on this page represent views within the eighteenth-century corridors which led inside the theatre at Herculaneum, the coastal town destroyed by the same eruption that devastated Pompeii in AD 79. In 1819, very little of the site had been uncovered and the rough nature of Turner’s studies reflect the fact that they were drawn in poorly lit, subterranean surroundings.1 For a fuller description of Herculaneum and the theatre see folio 86 (D15896; Turner Bequest CLXXXV 84).

Nicola Moorby
November 2010

1
Powell 1984, p.187, and Powell 1987, pp.82–3.

How to cite

Nicola Moorby, ‘Sketches Inside the Theatre at Herculaneum 1819 by Joseph Mallord William Turner’, catalogue entry, November 2010, 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-sketches-inside-the-theatre-at-herculaneum-r1138369, accessed 19 September 2021.