Joseph Mallord William Turner

Distant View of Vesuvius, from Via Posillipo


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 56 a

Catalogue entry

The subject of this sketch is Vesuvius (and Monte Somma) and part of the Sorrentine peninsula, seen from the Via Posillipo, a new road built during the early nineteenth century which stretched between Mergellina and the Capo di Posillipo. Some of the arches which supported the road within the steep tufa cliffs can be seen on the far left-hand side. Turner’s viewpoint appears to be looking east from a small villa, one of a number built along this part of the coast. The headland of Castel dell’Ovo in Naples is also visible in the distance on the left. A small plume of smoke rises from the crater of the volcano. For further views from the Via Posillipo see the Naples, Paestum, Rome sketchbook (Tate D16070–D16077; Turner Bequest CLXXXVII 81a–85) and the Naples: Rome C. Studies sketchbook (Tate D16094–D16096, D16106; Turner Bequest CLXXXVII 7–9, 18).

Nicola Moorby
May 2010

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