View this artwork by appointment, at Tate Britain's Prints and Drawings Rooms
This sketch is part of a panoramic view of part of the Gulf of Naples, as seen from the city. Turner’s viewpoint is not precisely known but it appears to be an area of high ground to the east of the Chiaia waterfront, possibly the Pizzofalcone Hill (or Monte Echia) above Castel dell’Ovo.1 The vista looks west and south-west, past the long stretch of the Villa Reale promenade (now the Villa Comunale) towards the coastline of Mergellina and Posillipo. Turner has left much of the foreground detail blank or only faintly outlined, but recognisable half-way up the slopes of the distant Posillipo Hill is the church and bell-tower of Sant’Antonio. The composition continues on the opposite sheet of the double-page spread, see folio 38 verso (D15629; Turner Bequest CLXXXIV 37a).
Compare the similar vista in a watercolour by Giovanni Battista Lusieri (1755–1821), View of the Bay of Naples from the Palazzo Sessa 1791 (J. Paul Getty Museum, Malibu, California), reproduced in colour in Ian Jenkins and Kim Sloan, Vases and Volcanoes: Sir William Hamilton and his Collection, exhibition catalogue, British Museum, London 1996, no.4, pp.112–3.