Joseph Mallord William Turner

Ships in the Bay of Naples, with Vesuvius; and Studies of Carts

1819

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

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
D15950
Turner Bequest CLXXXVI 21

Catalogue entry

The main sketch on this page depicts two ships seen within the Bay of Naples with Vesuvius beyond. For a similar view see folio 19 (D15944) and the Gandolfo to Naples sketchbook (Tate D15631; Turner Bequest CLXXXIV 38a). The composition of the scene, with the larger three-masted vessel in the waters in front of the gently smoking volcano, is highly reminiscent of the right-hand side of Turner’s later watercolour illustration, Bay of Naples for Rogers’s Italy (see Tate D27660; Turner Bequest CCLXXX 143).
In the top right-hand corner of the sheet there are two thumbnail studies of different types of cart. Meanwhile, the source and meaning of the two handwritten inscriptions is not known, although they appear to refer to the return journey between Naples and Rome. ‘Monte Circello’, also known as Monte Circeo, is the mountain visible as a promontory all along the Tyrrenhian coastline from the Via Appia through the Pontine Marshes, see for example the Gandolfo to Naples sketchbook (Tate D15579; Turner Bequest CLXXXIV 13).

Nicola Moorby
July 2010

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