Joseph Mallord William Turner

Two Views of the Villa Reale and Castel dell’Ovo, Seen from Mergellina


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 122 x 197 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CLXXXIV 50 a

Catalogue entry

This page contains two related sketches of the eastern entrance to the Villa Reale gardens, seen from the seafront at Mergellina. Beyond the park are the hill of Pizzofalcone and the small headland of the Castel dell’Ovo stretching into the sea beyond, whilst in the far distance is the vast silhouette of Vesuvius and Monte Somma. The lower vista has been drawn taken from a closer viewpoint than the upper.
The royal promenade of Villa Reale (present-day Villa Comunale park) was designed by Carlo Vanvitelli (1739–1821) in the late eighteenth century for the Bourbon King, Ferdinand IV. The gardens run along the length of the Chiaia waterfront between Piazza Vittoria and Piazza della Repubblica and in Turner’s day stretched directly to the edge of the sea, although they are now bordered on the south by the Via Caracciolo. They were laid out with neo-classical statues and fountains, as well as a tall sundial (meridiana), which may be the needle-shaped object visible in the left-hand middle distance of the upper view. Further sketches can be found on folio 52 (D15656; Turner Bequest CLXXXIV 50), in the Naples, Paestum, Rome sketchbook (Tate D16015; Turner Bequest CLXXXVI 52a), and in the Pompeii, Amalfi, Sorrento, Herculaneum sketchbook (Tate D15862–D15863; Turner Bequest CLXXXV 66a–67).

Nicola Moorby
May 2010

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