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

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner View in the Grounds of Villa Borghese, Rome, with the Temple of Diana 1819

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Folio 21 Recto:
View in the Grounds of Villa Borghese, Rome, with the Temple of Diana 1819
Turner Bequest CXCI 21
Pencil on white wove paper, 113 x 189 mm
Inscribed by ?John Ruskin in red ink ‘21’ bottom right [very faint]
Stamped in black ‘CXCI 21’ bottom right
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Cecilia Powell has identified this sketch as a view in the grounds of the Villa Borghese, a large area of parkland north of central Rome, built during the early seventeenth century for Cardinal Scipione Borghese, nephew of Pope Paul V.1 Flaminio Ponzio (circa 1560–1613), the architect who designed the Casino Borghese, also laid out the grounds including a series of formal gardens, an area of natural parkland, an aviary (the Uccelliera), and a scattering of statues, fountains and ancient monuments. The park was further transformed during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries by the building of a wooded lake garden, landscaped in the English manner with neo-classical features, partly designed by the British artist, Jacob More (circa 1740–1793).2 During the nineteenth century the gardens were open to the public free of charge and were a popular place for Romans and tourists alike to promenade in their leisure time.3
Turner made a number of quick studies of the gardens with the various architectural features seen through the trees, see for example the St Peter’s sketchbook (Tate D16267–D16270; Turner Bequest CLXXXVIII 61–63). This sketch may depict the Tempio di Diana (Temple of Diana), a small round temple on present-day Viale della Casina di Raffaello, built in 1789.4 Other sketches of the grounds can be found on folios 21 verso–23 (D16524–D16527).

Nicola Moorby
February 2009

Powell 1984, p.428; see http://en.villaborghese.it/la_villa/storia, accessed February 2009.
Raymond Keaveney, Views of Rome from the Thomas Ashby Collection in the Vatican Library, exhibition catalogue, Smithsonian Institution, Washington 1988, p.221.
John Chetwode Eustace, A Classical Tour of Italy, London 1815, 3rd edition, vol.II, pp.207–8.

How to cite

Nicola Moorby, ‘View in the Grounds of Villa Borghese, Rome, with the Temple of Diana 1819 by Joseph Mallord William Turner’, catalogue entry, February 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-view-in-the-grounds-of-villa-borghese-rome-with-the-temple-r1138416, accessed 18 April 2021.