Joseph Mallord William Turner

Amalfi from the Sea


Not on display

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 113 × 189 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CLXXXV 54

Catalogue entry

The subject of this sketch is Amalfi, one of the most picturesque locations on the Amalfi coast. Turner’s viewpoint is from a boat on the sea, with the fishing port and harbour in the central foreground and the densely built town tucked in a valley between steep mountains beyond. On the summit of the slopes above is the Torre (Tower) di Poggerola. A small part of the composition spills over onto the opposite sheet of the double-page spread, see folio 53 verso (D15836).
Similar vistas of Amalfi can be found on folios 35 and 53 verso (D15803 and D15836, whilst views from the west can be seen on folios 54 verso–55 (D15838–D15839). The composition of this sketch is very similar to the prospect after John ‘Warwick’ Smith (1749–1831) which Turner copied into the Italian Guide Book sketchbook (Tate D13971; Turner Bequest CLXXII 21a). It is also comparable to a later pair of views dating from the 1840s by John Ruskin (1819–1900).1

Nicola Moorby
October 2010

Amalfi, pencil and watercolour, 1841 (Ruskin Library, University of Lancaster) and Amalfi, pencil and watercolour, 1844 (Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University). Reproduced in Robert Hewison, Ruskin, Turner and the Pre-Raphaelites, exhibition catalogue, Tate Gallery, London 2000, nos.48, 49, p.72.

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