Joseph Mallord William Turner

Distant View of Naples from Posillipo

1819

View this artwork by appointment, at Tate Britain's Prints and Drawings Rooms

Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Graphite on paper
Dimensions
Support: 113 x 189 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D16048
Turner Bequest CLXXXVI 70 a

Catalogue entry

The subject of this sketch is a distant view of Naples, identifiable by the small headland of Castel dell’Ovo extending into the sea below the Pizzofalcone Hill. The vista is taken from the Posillipo Hill to the west and Turner’s viewpoint appears to be near the monument known as Virgil’s Tomb (in present-day Parco Vergiliano).1 This was an established vantage point,2 and the same umbrella pine tree can be seen in a more detailed drawing in the Naples: Rome C. Studies sketchbook (Tate D16143; Turner Bequest CLXXXVII 55). See also a related study on folio 15 (D15936).

Nicola Moorby
August 2010

1
NB. Not to be confused with Parco Virgiliano, also known as the Parco della Rimembranza, near Marechiaro and Gaiola.
2
Compare, for example, a drawing by James Hakewill (1778–1843), Naples and Mount Vesuvius from above Virgil’s Tomb 1816 (Library of the British School at Rome), reproduced in 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.5.43, p.271.

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