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

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner View from the So-Called Temple of Vesta, Tivoli, including the Ponte San Rocco 1819

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Folio 65 Recto:
View from the So-Called Temple of Vesta, Tivoli, including the Ponte San Rocco 1819
D15048
Turner Bequest CLXXIX 65
Pencil on white wove paper, 112 x 186 mm
Inscribed by the artist in pencil ‘18 Cols 9 Diam 1/3 Base 2/7 number of Col’ bottom right, inverted
Inscribed by ?John Ruskin in blue ink ‘65’ top right
Stamped in black ‘CLXXIX 65’ bottom right
 
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Despite the rough nature of this sketch, the subject is identifiable as a view of the Ponte San Rocco from below the so-called Temple of Vesta in Tivoli. The path leading down the steep slopes of the gorge beneath the circular ruin was a popular viewpoint for artists drawing the falls of the River Aniene. Compare, for example, Gaspar van Wittel’s (1652/3–1736), View of Tivoli circa 1700 (Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore), which pictures an artist sketching from exactly this location.1 For further views of the Ponte San Rocco see folio 2 verso (D14936).
The inverted inscription at the bottom of the page refers to the structure and dimensions of the Temple of Vesta, which originally had ‘18 Col[umn]s’.2 Further related notes and diagrams can be found on the inside front cover of the sketchbook (D40925) and in the Tivoli sketchbook (Tate D15513; Turner Bequest CLXXXIII 44a). As an amateur architect and the Royal Academy’s Professor of Perspective, Turner’s interest in classical buildings extended beyond pure aesthetics and it is likely that he would have been familiar with measured drawings and plans of the Temple by fellow Academicians such as George Dance (1741–1825) and John Soane (1753–1837).3 The ruin forms the subject of a large number of sketches in this sketchbook, see folio 3 verso (D14938), and the Tivoli sketchbook (Tate D15513–D15518; Turner Bequest CLXXXIII 44a–7).

Nicola Moorby
February 2010

1
Reproduced at http://art.thewalters.org/viewwoa.aspx?id=11864, accessed December 2009.
2
For information on the dimensions of the Temple of Vesta see Margaret Richardson, ‘John Soane and the Temple of Vesta at Tivoli’, Architectural History, vol.46, 2003, pp.127–130.
3
See ibid.

How to cite

Nicola Moorby, ‘View from the So-Called Temple of Vesta, Tivoli, including the Ponte San Rocco 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-view-from-the-so-called-temple-of-vesta-tivoli-including-the-r1137682, accessed 23 November 2020.