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

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner View of the So-Called Tempio della Tosse, Tivoli 1819

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Folio 14 Recto:
View of the So-Called Tempio della Tosse, Tivoli 1819
Turner Bequest CLXXXIII 14
Pencil and grey watercolour wash on white wove paper, 200 x 253 mm
Inscribed by ?John Ruskin in pencil ‘14’ bottom left
Stamped in black ‘CLXXXIII 14’ bottom left, descending left-hand edge
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
This study depicts a view of the so-called Tempio della Tosse (Temple of the Cough), a circular structure near the ancient route of the Via Tiburtina (present-day Strada degli Orti), believed to be the vestibule of a Roman villa. Turner’s viewpoint appears to be looking downhill from the ascent towards the nearby Santuario di Ercole Vincitore (Sanctuary of Hercules Victor), a ruined temple complex dating from the first century BC, formerly known as the Villa of Maecenas. This is probably the architectural remains visible in the top right-hand corner of the sketch, including the column base on the edge of a shelf of land. In the distance is the flat plain of the Campagna west of Tivoli, looking towards Rome. A similar view appears in a near-contemporaneous drawing by Turner’s friend and collaborator, James Hakewill (1778–1843), At Tivoli near the Villa of Macenas, ?1817 (British School at Rome Library).1 Like many drawings within this sketchbook, the composition has been executed over a washed grey background. Turner has created highlights by rubbing or lifting out the wash to reveal the white paper beneath, principally to delineate the buildings and the sky.
The Tempio della Tosse was a popular artistic motif during the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, the most famous example being an etching by Giovanni Battista Piranesi (1720–1778), Veduta del Tempio, detta della Tosse for the Vedute di Roma.2 As a young man, Turner had made a watercolour copy of an image featuring the ruin, see Dr Monro’s Album of Italian Views (Tate D36448; Turner Bequest CCCLXXIII 35). Further studies dating from the 1819 tour can be found on folios 12 and 13 (D15478 and D15479).
Tony Cubberley and Luke Herrmann, Twilight of the Grand Tour: A Catalogue of the drawings by James Hakewill in the British School at Rome Library, Rome 1992, no.5.4, p.227, reproduced.
Luigi Ficacci, Piranesi: The Complete Etchings, Köln and London 2000, no.940, p.723, reproduced.
Blank, except for traces of grey watercolour wash
Inscribed by ?John Ruskin in red ink ‘340’ bottom left

Nicola Moorby
February 2010

How to cite

Nicola Moorby, ‘View of the So-Called Tempio della Tosse, 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-view-of-the-so-called-tempio-della-tosse-tivoli-r1137755, accessed 20 May 2024.