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

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner Study of a Waterfall, Tivoli 1819

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Folio 28 Recto:
Study of a Waterfall, Tivoli 1819
Turner Bequest CLXXXIII 28
Pencil and grey watercolour wash on white wove paper, 253 x 200 mm
Inscribed by ?John Ruskin in red ink ‘28’ bottom right
Stamped in black ‘CLXXXIII 28’ bottom right
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
One of the greatest natural spectacles at Tivoli was the multitude of waterfalls caused by the waters of the River Aniene plunging into the valley to the north of the town. Turner has exploited the dark washed grey ground of this sketchbook page to create a swift, evocative study of one of the cascades. He has created the impression of falling water and fine spray (known as polvere dell’acqua, or dust of the water) by scratching, rubbing or lifting out the watercolour wash to reveal the white paper beneath. Soft, dark pencil-work provides the suggestion of rocks. Similar naturalistic effects can be found throughout this sketchbook, particularly on folio 15 (D15481), and in the Naples: Rome C. Studies sketchbook (D16146–D16147; Turner Bequest CLXXXVII 58–9).
Blank, except for traces of grey watercolour wash

Nicola Moorby
February 2010

How to cite

Nicola Moorby, ‘Study of a Waterfall, Tivoli 1819 by Joseph Mallord William Turner’, catalogue entry, February 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-study-of-a-waterfall-tivoli-r1137771, accessed 17 October 2021.