Joseph Mallord William Turner

Distant View of Capri from the Posillipo Coastline, with the Villa Martinelli


Not on display
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 113 x 189 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CLXXXVI 85

Catalogue entry

Turner made a thorough exploration of the picturesque landscape of Posillipo to the west of Naples and his viewpoint for this sketch is the new coastal road, the Via Posillipo, built during the early nineteenth century on the orders of Joachim Murat, the King of Naples. The road stands directly above a small inlet cove and there is cave in the rock by the water’s edge. The building in the bottom left-hand corner is the Villa Martinelli (formerly also known as the Villa Cappella), one of a number of seventeenth and eighteenth-century villas which were built along Posillipo coastline.1 The prospect looks south from the cliff side towards the distant island of Capri, silhouetted against the horizon.
For further views from the Via Posillipo see folios 83 verso–86 verso (D16070–D16076; Turner Bequest CLXXXVI 81a–84a), as well as the Gandolfo to Naples sketchbook (Tate D15669; Turner Bequest 56a) and the Naples: Rome C. Studies sketchbook (Tate D16094–6, D16106; Turner Bequest CLXXXVII 7–9, 18).

Nicola Moorby
August 2010

The same villa appears in a drawing by Achille Vianelli (1803–1894) dated circa 1820 (Museo di Capodimonte, Naples), reproduced on-line at ; and in an oil painting by Ercole Gigante (1815–1860), Villa Martinelli (Collezione Autiello, Naples). Today the villa has been converted into holiday accommodation.

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