Etching printed in dark reddish brown on antique, cream laid paper, 1811. 205x286 mm; 8 1/8x11 1/4 inches, full margins. An early proof with the artist's etched lines only, before the addition of mezzotint by one of Turner's collaborative printmakers. With the artist's estate blind stamp (Lugt 1498, lower right recto); likely his estate sale, Christie's, London, March 24-28, 1873. From Liber Studiorum. A superb, richly-inked impression of this extremely scarce, early proof.
Turner's Liber Studiorum, or book of studies, was conceived by the artist to consist of at least one hundred etched and mezzotinted plates based on his brown ink and wash drawings or pastoral and landscape subjects which were his artistic canon. Though never completed, the series comprised seventy engravings of a planned one hundred, published by Turner (or, at an early stage, on his behalf) between 1807 and 1819 in fourteen parts together with a frontispiece.
This etching is based on a drawing that Turner (1775-1851) made in Rome during the ear;y 1800s. The erroneously named Temple of Minerva Medica, once thought to be the temple to the Goddess Minerva, as protectress of doctors, now known as a nymphaeum, or building devoted to the nymphs, was constructed in the 4th century at the base of Esquiline Hill. Finberg 23.