Thomas Jones

Mount Vesuvius from Torre dell’Annunziata near Naples


Thomas Jones 1742–1803
Oil paint on paper on canvas
Support: 381 × 552 mm
frame: 450 × 622 × 54 mm
Presented by Mrs Jane Evan-Thomas 1974

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Jones was a pupil of Richard Wilson, and due to his influence strove to produce large-scale classical landscapes. From 1776-83 he was in Italy, initially hoping to win commissions from Grand Tourists. The most remarkable works he produced there, however, were his small oil sketches made directly from nature, the best known of these being his highly original views of Neapolitan buildings and rooftops. This landscape also displays the realism associated with these works, but with a hint of the Picturesque (for instance the inclusion of the fisherman in the foreground). Jones most probably based this view on a sketch he made of Vesuvius from Torre Annunziate when staying with the artist G B Lusieri in 1783.

Gallery label, September 2004

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Catalogue entry

Thomas Jones 1742–1803

T01844 Mount Vesuvius from Torre dell’Annunziata near Naples 1783

Not inscribed.
Oil on paper laid down on canvas, 15 x 21¾ (38 x 55.5).
Presented by Mrs Jane Evan-Thomas 1974.
Coll: The artist’s son-in-law, Thomas Thomas, thence by descent to Commander Charles Evan-Thomas, d.s.o., r.n.; his widow Mrs Jane Evan-Thomas.
Exh: Marble Hill House, Twickenham and the National Museum of Wales,
Cardiff 1970 (74).

An old inscription on the stretcher reads: ‘No 3, Mount Vesuvius from Torre dell’Annunziata near Naples’. During his years in Italy (1776–83) Jones ascended or partly ascended Vesuvius several times but only once does he appear to have approached it from Torre dell’Annunziata. He went there on 25 July 1783, shortly before leaving for England, to say farewell to his friend the Roman topographical artist Giambattista Lusieri. On 26 July, Jones records in his ‘Memoirs’, ‘we amused ourselves in walking about this interesting Country, & on the day following ascended M. Vesuvius as far as the Cultivation extended, thro’ beautiful Vineyards & villages, & Groves of Fruit & Forest Trees, and interspersed with handsom Churches and Convents—The Weather was remarkably hot—’ (ed. A. P. Oppé, ‘Memoirs of Thomas Jones’, Walpole Society, xxxii, 1951, p. 124). He returned from Torre dell’Annunziata to Naples on 31 July and set sail for England on 3 August. T01844 was presumably painted during his week’s stay at Torre.

Published in The Tate Gallery Report 1972–1974, London 1975.

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