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

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner Studies of Sculptural Fragments from the Palazzo Corsini, Rome 1819

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Folio 1 Recto:
Studies of Sculptural Fragments from the Palazzo Corsini, Rome 1819
Turner Bequest CLXXX 1
Pencil on white wove paper, 161 x 101 mm
Inscribed by the artist in pencil ‘[?Pazzia] [...] artists in the [...] St Church Maggiore O | the [?Innocence]’ across top, and ‘[?Ire di F...] to right of sketch top right, and ‘End of the S’ to right of third sketch from top and ‘Val[...] | C[...] | Pl[...]’ bottom left, inverted
Inscribed by John Ruskin in red ink ‘1’ bottom right
Stamped in black ‘CLXXX 1’ bottom right
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Cecilia Powell has identified the sketches on this page as studies of sculptural fragments from the Palazzo Corsini in Rome. This fifteenth-century palace, rebuilt in the eighteenth century, stands in the Trastevere district near the Villa Farnesina, at the foot of the Janiculum Hill. Today it houses the National Gallery of Ancient Art, a collection largely comprised of works amassed by the Corsini family. The drawings are numbered from top left to bottom right:
The sketch in the top left hand corner represents the tombstone of L. Camurtius Punicus from the stairs of the Palazzo.1
The detail in the top right-hand corner is unidentified.
The sketch in the centre of the page depicts the front panel of a sarcophagus decorated with sculptural reliefs of tritons, nereids and sea-monsters.2 Turner has also recorded the end panel of the same sarcophagus, decorated with a marine figure blowing a conch.3
The sketch at the bottom represents the Sedia Corsini, an antique chair or throne decorated with marble reliefs.4 This was the most important antiquity in the palazzo.5
Notes about paintings in the Palazzo Corsini can be found on folio 1 verso (D15106) and in the Route to Rome sketchbook (Tate D13881; Turner Bequest CLXXI 13).

Nicola Moorby
December 2009

Powell 1984, p.411.
Powell 1984, p.411; Salomon Reinach Répertoire de Reliefs Grecs et Romains, vol.3, Paris 1912, p.223 no.1, reproduced.
Powell 1984, p.411; Reinach 1912, p.223 no.3, reproduced.
Powell 1984, p.411; Reinach 1912, p.224 no.5, reproduced.
Powell 1984, p.477 note 11.

How to cite

Nicola Moorby, ‘Studies of Sculptural Fragments from the Palazzo Corsini, Rome 1819 by Joseph Mallord William Turner’, catalogue entry, December 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-studies-of-sculptural-fragments-from-the-palazzo-corsini-r1139516, accessed 25 June 2024.