Turner Bequest CLXXX 21 a
A sketch of an unidentified grave altar, with the accompanying inscription ‘D M | CLUCIFERI AVC | LIB.NVMISIA | COIVC’. The first part translates as ‘D[is] M[anibus]’, ‘To the spirits of the departed’, and is a common phrase found on Roman funerary monuments.
From the accompanying Latin text, Cecilia Powell has identified the top centre sketch as an ossuarium (receptacle for bones), found in the Galleria Lapidaria (Lapidary Gallery) of the Museo Chiaramonti.1 Turner has transcribed the inscription ‘OSSVARIVO’.
A sketch of an unidentified architectural or sculptural fragment, possibly part of a grave altar. The artist has annotated the drawing ‘351’, which presumably relates to an exhibit number displayed on the work. However, it does not appear to correspond to any known lists published within contemporary guide books or catalogues of the Vatican collections.
A sketch of an unidentified architectural fragment decorated with stylised acanthus leaves.
A sketch of an unidentified sculptural fragment decorated with figures and writing sea creatures. Turner has annotated the sketch with the note ‘Prow of a Ship’.
How to cite
Nicola Moorby, ‘Studies of Sculptural Fragments from the Vatican Museums, Including an Ossuarium 1819 by Joseph Mallord William Turner’, catalogue entry, November 2009, in David Blayney Brown (ed.), J.M.W. Turner: Sketchbooks, Drawings and Watercolours, Tate Research Publication, December 2012, https://www