Joseph Mallord William Turner

Distant View of Capri and the Sorrentine Peninsula from Via Posillipo


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 CLXXXVI 83 a

Catalogue entry

Turner travelled the length of the Posillipo coastline on a new road built during the early nineteenth century, the Via Posillipo. Commissioned in 1812 by the King of Naples, Joachim Murat, it took twelve years to complete and followed the rugged line of the shore between Mergellina and the Capo di Posillipo, at times skirting the top of the tufa cliffs and providing spectacular views of the scenery. This sketch depicts a view looking south from the road towards the distant silhouette of the Sorrentine peninsula and the island of Capri. Turner’s viewpoint appears to be a point near the historic villas of Roccaromana and Martinelli (near present-day Piazza San Luigi). The neo-classical building in the top right-hand corner of the composition remains unidentified, although it may be the same villa which appears in a more detailed drawing in the Naples: Rome C. Studies sketchbook (Tate D16107; Turner Bequest CLXXXVII 19).
For further views from the Via Posillipo see folios 83 verso–87 (D16070–D16077; Turner Bequest CLXXXVI 81a–85), as well as the Gandolfo to Naples sketchbook (Tate D15669; Turner Bequest 56a) and the Naples: Rome C. Studies sketchbook (Tate D16094–6, D16106; Turner Bequest CLXXXVII 7–9, 18).

Nicola Moorby
August 2010

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