Joseph Mallord William Turner

Bay of Naples from Posillipo, with the Palazzo Donn’Anna


Not on display

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 255 × 403 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CLXXXVII 7

Catalogue entry

To the west of Naples lies the steep coastline of Posillipo, an area of outstanding natural beauty which since Roman times had been a popular residential district and resort. This sketch depicts a sweeping view of the city as seen from Posillipo. On the hill in the centre of the composition are Castel Sant’Elmo and the semi-circular bay curves round to the Castel dell’Ovo on the far right-hand side with the lower slopes of Vesuvius beyond. Turner’s location appears to be just west of the Palazzo Donn’Anna (also historically known as Queen Joanna’s palace), a famous seventeenth-century ruin which can be seen in central foreground. His viewpoint is the Via Posillipo, a new road built during the early nineteenth century which followed the line of the steep tufa cliffs rising above the shore. Some of the arches supporting a section of the road can be seen on the left-hand edge of the composition. A similar prospect looking north-east towards the city can be found on another sheet within this sketchbook (Tate D16107; Turner Bequest CLXXXVII 19), as well as in the Naples, Paestum, Rome sketchbook (Tate D15920; Turner Bequest CLXXXVI 8).

Nicola Moorby
April 2010

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