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Circus of Caracalla (from Twelve Original Views in Italy)
The Trustees of the British Museum
Edward Rooker (c.1712-1774) after Wilson
Circus of Caracalla (from Twelve Original Views in Italy)
Published 29 January 1776
182 x 256 mm
7 3/16 x 10 1/16 in.
1868,0612.1749
E33A
View of an arena, framed by a massive stone arch, from which hang creepers. In the left foreground are two figures, one seated with a staff over his shoulder, and a dog. To the right of this group is a boulder and there is another at the right base of the arch. Beyond the arena are several buildings and trees.
Purchased from Brook [sic], 32 Princes Street, Norwich, 1868
Lettered below the image:
[1] Upper left: 'R. Wilson del',
[2] Upper right: 'E. Rooker sc'
[3] Centre: CIRCUS of CARACALLA
[4] Publication line: 'Published Jan: 29 1776 by John Boydell Engraver in Cheapside London'
The view is towards the west on what is currently the edge of the Via Appia Pignatelli. To the left in the middle distance, stands the round tower of the mausoleum of Caecilia Metella - one of the most imposing classical remains on the Via Appia Antica. Martin Postle has noted that in actuality it is visible only when one stands before the arch
D273 The Circus of Caracalla, Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford (WA.RS.REF.117)
D273A The Circus of Caracalla, Tate, London (T09296)
See 'Links' tab.
Another impression is in the Witt Print Collection, Courtauld Institute, London
Twelve Original Views in Italy was published by John Boydell as a compilation of etchings by different printmakers, produced over a number of years, after Wilson's drawings or paintings. The present print was based on the prime version of the related drawing, D273 (Tate, London). Acquired by William Lock probably while he and Wilson were still in Italy, that drawing is very close to Rooker's etching, e.g. in the lively attitude of the small dog in the left foreground.
Edwards 1808, p. 88
As Rooker died in November 1774, the plate for this print must have been etched some years before the publication of Twelve Original Views in 1776.