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

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner Trees and Hayricks beside the Via Appia, between Tor Tre Ponti and Terracina 1819

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Folio 15 Recto:
Trees and Hayricks beside the Via Appia, between Tor Tre Ponti and Terracina 1819
Turner Bequest CLXXXIV 15
Pencil on white wove paper, 122 x 197 mm
Inscribed by ?John Ruskin in blue ink ‘281’ bottom right and ‘15’ top right
Stamped in black ‘CLXXXIV 15’ bottom right
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
The straight, tree-lined section of the Via Appia known as ‘La Fettuccia’ (‘The Ribbon’), runs through the Pontine Marshes to Terracina. There are few landmarks of interest along this part of the journey between Rome and Naples and Turner instead seems to have turned his attention to signs of agricultural labour in the fields beside the roads. The details of his sketch appear to correspond with a description of the landscape by Revd John Chetwode Eustace in A Classical Tour Through Italy, first published in 1815:
Here commences the famous Pomptine Marshes, and at the same time the excellent road formed through them on the substructions of the Appian by the same pontiff [Pius VI]. This road runs on an exact level, and in a straight line for thirty miles. It is bordered on both sides by a canal, and shaded by double rows of elms and poplars ... When we crossed the Pomptine marshes, fine crops of corn covered the country on our left, and seemed to wave to the very foot of the mountain; while on the right numerous herds of cattle and horses grazed in extensive and luxuriant pastures ... To the south, towers the promontory of Circe [Monte Circeo] on one side, and the shining rock of Anxur on the other; while the Volscian Mountains [also known as Monti Lepini], sweeping from north to south in a bold semicircle, close the view to the east.1
Turner owned a copy of Eustace’s publication and made notes on the relevant pages in the Italian Guide Book sketchbook (Tate D13953; Turner Bequest CLXXII 12).

Nicola Moorby
April 2010

John Chetwode Eustace, A Classical Tour Through Italy, London 1821, 6th edition, vol.II, pp.292–302

How to cite

Nicola Moorby, ‘Trees and Hayricks beside the Via Appia, between Tor Tre Ponti and Terracina 1819 by Joseph Mallord William Turner’, catalogue entry, April 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-trees-and-hayricks-beside-the-via-appia-between-tor-tre-r1138045, accessed 24 May 2024.