Joseph Mallord William Turner

Castel Sant’Elmo and the Certosa di San Martino, from the Mole, Naples


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 122 × 197 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CLXXXIV 64 a

Catalogue entry

This sketch depicts a view of the Certosa (Charterhouse) di San Martino and the Castel Sant’Elmo, seen from the Mole (pier) in the old port of Naples.1 The buildings on the far left-hand side of the composition represent the start of the jetty, including an arched gateway which through which passed the seafront road in front of the castle, whilst in the middle distance on the left is part of the walls and moat of the Castel Nuovo. The vista looks west from the entrance to the Mole towards the hill in the background. Extensive redevelopment since the early nineteenth century in the port and the esplanade in front of the castle (present-day Piazza Municipio) has rendered the scene virtually unrecognisable today. Turner’s viewpoint, however, is near the entrance to present-day Molo Angioino. For a view looking in the opposite direction see folio 67 (D15688; Turner Bequest CLXXXIV 65).
Turner had depicted a similar prospect in his earlier watercolour for James Hakewill’s Picturesque Tour of Italy, Naples from the Mole 1818 (National Museums and Galleries on Merseyside).2 Compare also an eighteenth-century oil painting by the Neapolitan vedute artist, Antonio Joli (circa 1700–77), Naples from the Port (Collection of Lord Montagu of Beaulieu).3

Nicola Moorby
June 2010

Powell 1984, p.424, incorrectly suggests this is a view of Capodimonte.
Andrew Wilton, The Life and Work of J.M.W. Turner, Fribourg 1979, no.712. See also the engraving after Turner (Tate, T06024 and T06025).
Reproduced in colour in Giuliano Briganti, Nicola Spinosa and Lindsay Stainton, In the Shadow of Vesuvius: Views of Naples from Baroque to Romanticism 1631–1830, exhibition catalogue, Accademia Italiana delle Arti e delle Arti Applicate, London 1990, p.43.

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