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

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner St Peter's and the Vatican, Rome, from the Gardens of the Villa Medici 1819

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Folio 10 Recto:
St Peter’s and the Vatican, Rome, from the Gardens of the Villa Medici 1819
Turner Bequest CXC 10
Pencil and grey watercolour wash and white gouache and traces of watercolour on white wove paper, 130 x 255 mm
Inscribed by ?John Ruskin in red ink ‘10’ bottom left, inverted
Stamped in black ‘CXC 10’ top left, inverted
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner’s viewpoint for this sketch of St Peter’s and the Vatican is gardens of the Villa Medici on the Pincian Hill, an area of high ground in the north-east of Rome. St Peter’s dominates the centre of the composition and to the left is the circular fortress of the Castel Sant’Angelo. The collection of domes and bell-towers vaguely sketched in the bottom right-hand corner represent the two adjacent Churches of Santa Maria dei Miracoli and Santa Maria in Montesanto which stand on the Piazza del Popolo at the entrance of the Via del Corso. A similar but more detailed view can be found in the Rome C. Studies sketchbook (Tate D16343; Turner Bequest CLXXXIX 17).
Like many drawings within this sketchbook, the composition has been executed over a washed grey background and Turner has created areas of pale highlights by rubbing or lifting through to the white paper beneath. Additionally however in this instance he has also blocked in details such as St Peter’s and the Castel Sant’Angelo using touches of white gouache.
Blank except for traces of grey watercolour wash

Nicola Moorby
May 2009

How to cite

Nicola Moorby, ‘St Peter’s and the Vatican, Rome, from the Gardens of the Villa Medici 1819 by Joseph Mallord William Turner’, catalogue entry, May 2009, 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-st-peters-and-the-vatican-rome-from-the-gardens-of-the-villa-r1132505, accessed 28 May 2024.