Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
The Castel dell’Ovo, Naples, Early Morning, with Capri in the Distance 1819
Turner Bequest CLXXXVII 2
Turner Bequest CLXXXVII 2
Watercolour and pencil on white wove paper, 256 x 405 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
National Gallery, London, various dates to at least 1904 (336).
[Display of Watercolours], National Gallery, London, December 1938–September 1939 (no catalogue).
Loan of Turner Watercolours from the British Museum, Graves Art Gallery, Sheffield, December 1964–January 1965, University of Nottingham Art Gallery, January–March 1965 (no catalogue).
Turner: Watercolours Lent by the British Museum, Musée Provisoire d’Art Moderne, Brussels, November 1970–January 1971 (12, as ‘La Presqu’Île de Sorrente et Capri vus de Pissofalcone’).
Turner 1775–1851, Royal Academy, London, November 1974–March 1975 (234, as ‘The Castel dell’Ovo, Naples, with Capri and Sorrento in the Distance; Early Morning’).
¿¿¿¿¿¿, Shipka Gallery, Sofia, Bulgaria, April–?May 1978, Belgrade, Serbia [former Yugoslavia], May 1978, Muzeul de Arte al RS [Republica Socialista] Romania, Bucharest, June–July 1978 (21).
J.M.W. Turner (1775–1851) / ¿¿.¿.G. ¿e¿¿e¿ (1775–1851), National Pinakothiki, Athens, January–March 1981 (19, reproduced in colour).
Turner’s First Visit to Italy, 1819: Watercolours from the Turner Bequest, Loaned by the British Museum, Tate Gallery, London, April–October 1981 (no catalogue).
Sketching the Sky: Watercolours from the Turner Bequest, Tate Gallery, London, September 1995–February 1996 (no number).
Italy in the Age of Turner: “The Garden of the World”, Dulwich Picture Gallery, London, March–May 1998, (48, reproduced in colour).
Viaggio in Italia: Un corteo magico dal Cinquecento al Novecento, Palazzo Ducale, Genoa, March–July 2001 (4).
Turner e l’Italia/Turner and Italy, Palazzo dei Diamanti, Ferrara, November 2008–February 2009, National Gallery of Scotland, Edinburgh, March–June 2009 (43, reproduced in colour).
Turner és Itália, Szépmuvészeti Múzeum, Budapest, July–October 2009 (no number, reproduced).
E.T. Cook and Alexander Wedderburn (eds.), Library Edition: The Works of John Ruskin: Volume XIII: Turner: The Harbours of England; Catalogues and Notes, London 1904, no.336, pp.379, 625, as ‘Monte St. Angelo and Capri: Morning’.
A.J. Finberg, A Complete Inventory of the Drawings of the Turner Bequest, London 1909, vol.I, p.555, as ‘Monte St. Angelo and Capri: Morning. Water colour. Exhibited Drawings, No.336, N.G.’.
D[ugald] S[utherland] MacColl, National Gallery, Millbank: Catalogue: Turner Collection, London 1920, p.85.
Luke Herrmann, Turner: Watercolours Lent by the British Museum, exhibition catalogue, Musée Provisoire d’Art Moderne, Brussels 1970, no.12, p., as ‘La Presqu’Île de Sorrente et Capri vus de Pissofalcone’.
Martin Butlin, Andrew Wilton and John Gage, Turner 1775–1851, exhibition catalogue, Royal Academy, London 1974, no.234, pp.88 under no.218, 91 under no.233, as ‘The Castel dell’Ovo, Naples, with Capri and Sorrento in the Distance; Early Morning’.
Dimitrios Papastamos, John Gage and Lindsay Stainton, J.M.W. Turner (1775–1851) / ¿¿.¿.G. ¿e¿¿e¿ (1775–1851), exhibition catalogue, National Pinakothiki, Athens 1981, pp.38, 43, reproduced in colour [p.85].
John Gage, Jerrold Ziff, Nicholas Alfrey and others, J.M.W. Turner, à l’occasion du cinquantième anniversaire du British Council, exhibition catalogue, Galeries nationales du Grand Palais, Paris 1983, p.220 under no.144.
Cecilia Powell, ‘Turner on Classic Ground: His Visits to Central and Southern Italy and Related Paintings and Drawings’, unpublished Ph.D thesis, Courtauld Institute of Art, University of London 1984, p.181 note 48.
Cecilia Powell, Turner in the South: Rome, Naples, Florence, New Haven and London 1987, p.80 note 39.
Giuliano Briganti, Nicola Spinosa and Lindsay Stainton, All’ombra del Vesuvio: Napoli nella veduta europea dal Quattrocento all’Ottocento / In the Shadow of Vesuvius: Views of Naples from Baroque to Romanticism 1631–1830, exhibition catalogue, Accademia Italiana delle Arti e dell arti Applicate, London 1990, p.134.
Sketching the Sky: Watercolours from the Turner Bequest, exhibition catalogue, Tate Gallery, London 1995, p., as ‘The Castel dell’Ovo, Naples with Capri in the Distance’.
Cecilia Powell, Italy in the Age of Turner: “The Garden of the World”, exhibition catalogue, Dulwich Picture Gallery, London 1998, p.82, reproduced in colour, as ‘The Castel dell’Ovo and Bay of Naples’.
Giuseppe Marcenaro and Piero Boragina, Viaggio in Italia: Un corteo magico dal Cinquecento al Novecento, exhibition catalogue, Palazzo Ducale, Genoa 2001, ‘Turner et l’Italia’ no.4 [incorrectly as D18089, and accompanied by incorrect reproduction in colour of D16109], as ‘Napoli. Castel dell’Ovo con Capri e Sorrento sullo sfondo’.
Ian Warrell (ed.), Franklin Kelly and others, J.M.W. Turner, exhibition catalogue, National Gallery of Art, Washington 2007, p.133 under no.93.
James Hamilton, Nicola Moorby, Christopher Baker and others, Turner e l’Italia, exhibition catalogue, Palazzo dei Diamanti, Ferrara 2008, no.43, pp.48, , 184 reproduced in colour, as ‘Napoli. Castel dell’Ovo con Sorrento e Capri in lontananza, mattina presto’.
James Hamilton, Nicola Moorby, Christopher Baker and others, Turner & Italy, exhibition catalogue, National Galleries of Scotland, Edinburgh 2009, p.48, reproduced in colour pl.51 p.46, as ‘The Castel dell’Ovo, Naples, with Capri and Sorrento in the Distance: Early Morning’.
Christopher Baker and James Hamilton, Turner és Itália, exhibition catalogue, Szépmuvészeti Múzeum, Budapest 2009, p.53, reproduced in colour, p.47, fig.47.
In addition to numerous pencil sketches of Naples, Turner made seven coloured studies of the city and surrounding bay using clear, limpid watercolour on pure white paper. Three of these feature the Castel dell’Ovo (Castle of the Egg), an historic fortress built on the islet of Megaride, a small piece of headland which juts into the sea in front of the port of Santa Lucia. Its unusual name is said to derive from the legend of a magic egg hidden within the walls by the Latin poet, Virgil, which as long at it remained intact, would protect the castle and the entire city. The fortress frequently appears within panoramic views of the surrounding bay (see for example D16143; Turner Bequest CLXXXVII 55), but here Turner has adopted a more unusual visual approach. The view appears to look south-east from the foot of the hill of Pizzafalcone, so that the squarish bulk of the castle stands in dramatic isolation within an empty foreground.1 Silhouetted in distance are the Bay of Sorrento and the eastern tip of the Gulf of Naples and, to the right, the island of Capri. The pale golden light spreading from the east suggests that this is an early morning scene. An almost identical composition at a different time of day can be seen on another sheet within this sketchbook (D16109; Turner Bequest CLXXXVII 21), whilst a similar but closer view of the Castel dell’Ovo contains more detail and focus on the architecture and surrounding area (D16093; Turner Bequest CLXXXVII 6).
The study has been left unfinished and exhibits a variety of handling. The foreground forms have been loosely blocked in with brown watercolour over which Turner has freely added wet-in-wet blue. Lifting and mingling the paint around the castle has created an impression of haze and a tonal sense of light and shade. By contrast, the subtle diffused washes with which he has defined the sky, and the crisp grey silhouettes on the horizon demonstrate careful control and attention to detail. These effects are similar to those in another 1819 watercolour, a view of San Giorgio Maggiore in Venice, see the Como and Venice sketchbook (Tate D15254; Turner Bequest CLXXXI 4).
A similar composition appears in an oil study by Carl Gustav Carus (1789–1869), Castel dell’Ovo a Napoli, ?1828 (private collection), reproduced in Anna Ottani Cavina, Un Paese Incantato: Italia Dipinta da Thomas Jones a Corot, exhibition catalogue, Galeries nationales du Grand Palais, Parigi and Palazzo Te, Mantova, Italy 2001, no.157, p.257.
Long detached from the Naples, Rome C. Studies sketchbook, this sheet was perhaps once folio 2 (see the concordance in the introduction).
Find similar artworks
Joseph Mallord William Turner (41,861)
On paper, unique (48,609)