Joseph Mallord William TurnerView from the Camaldoli Hill, with Lake Agnano and the Island of Nisida 1819

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Artwork details

Artist
Title
View from the Camaldoli Hill, with Lake Agnano and the Island of Nisida
From Pompeii, Amalfi, &c., Sketchbook
Turner Bequest CLXXXV
Date 1819
MediumGraphite on paper
Dimensionssupport: 113 x 189 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D15871
Turner Bequest CLXXXV 71
View this artwork by appointment, at Tate Britain's Prints and Drawings Rooms

Catalogue entry

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Folio 73 Recto:
View from the Camaldoli Hill, with Lake Agnano and the Island of Nisida 1819
D15871
Turner Bequest CLXXXV 71
Pencil on white wove paper, 113 x 189 mm
Inscribed by the artist in pencil ‘Lago Ag’ centre right-hand edge
Inscribed by ?John Ruskin in blue ink ‘278’ top left, inverted and ‘71’ bottom left, inverted
Stamped in black ‘CLXXXV 71’ top left, inverted
 
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner often sought out high vantage points from which to gain a panoramic perspective across cities and landscapes. The highest point in Naples was the hill of Camaldoli to the north-west, from where it was possible to survey the length of the Gulf of Naples and the Tyrrhenian coastline from Gaeta in the west to Vesuvius and Sorrento in the east. It was a popular destination for tourists and similarly for topographical artists. Turner’s contemporary, James Hakewill (1778–1843), for example, made a detailed drawing of the vista inscribed with the names of the principal landmarks.1
The sketch on this page forms part of a sweeping view looking south and west from Camaldoli across the Campi Flegrei (Phlegraean or Burning Fields), the volcanic area to the west of Naples bordered by the Gulf of Pozzuoli. The composition continues on the opposite sheet of the double-page spread, see folio 72 verso (D15870; Turner Bequest CLXXXV 70a), but the features visible on this side include the island of Nisida near the Scuola di Virgilio promontory, and Lake Agnano (labelled by the artist ‘Lago Ag’), a volcanic crater lake which was drained during the late nineteenth century and is now the site of a modern hippodrome. For further views from Camaldoli see folios 42 verso, 72, 73 verso–78 verso (D15816, D15869, D15872–D15882; Turner Bequest CLXXXV 42a, 70, 71a–76a).
The hill was also the site of the Eremo di Camaldoli, a sixteenth-century monastery positioned at the very summit of its heights. The church is the building on the left-hand side of this sketch and Turner has even added the small figure of a Camaldolese monk winding his way up the slopes.

Nicola Moorby
October 2010

1
View from the great Camaldoli above the city of Naples 1816 (British School at Rome Library), 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.5.42, reproduced p.270.

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