Turner masterpiece to be auctioned at Sotheby’s


Rome, from Mount Aventine by JMW Turner

One of the last great Turner masterpieces remaining in private hands is to be auctioned at Sotheby’s London this December.

Rome, from Mount Aventine was last seen on the market in 1878 and has remained in the Rosebery Collection for the past 136 years. Painted in 1835, the painting is considered to be among Turner’s most subtle and atmospheric depictions of the Italian city, a subject that captivated him for over twenty years.

Sotheby’s said that the large-scale oil painting is further distinguished by its exceptional state of preservation, as well as a prestigious and unbroken provenance, having changed hands for the only time in 1878, when it was acquired by the 5th Earl of Rosebery, later Prime Minister of Great Britain.

The picture has remained in the Rosebery collection ever since and will be offered for sale with an estimate of £15-20 million.

Discussing the forthcoming sale, Alex Bell, Joint International Head and Co-Chairman of Sotheby’s Old Master Paintings Department said: “There are fewer than ten major Turners in private hands known today and this work must rank as one of the very finest.

“This painting, which is nearly 200 years old, looks today as if it has come straight from the easel of the artist; never relined and never subject to restoration, the picture retains the freshness of the moment it was painted: the hairs from Turner’s brush, the drips of liquid paint which have run down the edge of the canvas, and every scrape of his palette knife have been preserved in incredible detail.

“Rome, from Mount Aventine comes to sale at the same time as the groundbreaking exhibition of ‘Late Turner’ at the Tate, which will further enhance our understanding of the artist’s genius. Its emergence on the market represents a rare and exciting opportunity for collectors.”

The current auction record for a work by Joseph Mallord William Turner R.A was set by Modern Rome – Campo Vaccino (1838-1839) which was acquired by the J. Paul Getty Museum for £29,721,250/$44,935,558/€35,727,792 at Sotheby’s London on 7 July 2010 (est. £12-18 million).