The four sketches on this page relate to Turner’s exploration of Naples, and probably represent views of the hilly landscape to the north of the city. The vista in the bottom right-hand corner is the only one which can be identified with confidence, as a view looking south from the hill of Capodimonte, near the Bourbon Reggia or Palazzo di Capodimonte. In the distance to the right is the hills and fortress of Castel Sant’Elmo and the Certosa di San Martino, whilst visible on the horizon is the island of Capri. Also visible in the middle distance of the composition is the new straight road, the Nuova Strada di Capodimonte or Corso Napoleone (present-day Corso Amedeo di Savoia), built during the early nineteenth century to connect the lower part of the city with Capodimonte.
Related views can be seen on folio 68 verso (D15691; Turner Bequest CLXXXIV 66a), as well as in the Naples: Rome C. Studies sketchbook (Tate D16110–161111; Turner Bequest CLXXXVII 22–23). Compare also a copy after another artist which Turner made as a young man in collaboration with Thomas Girtin (1775–1802) (see Tate D36536; Turner Bequest CCCLXXV 15), and a near-contemporaneous drawing by James Hakewill (1778–1843), Naples and the Island of Capri from Capo di Monte (British School at Rome Library).1
See Tony Cubberley and Luke Herrmann, Twilight of the Grand Tour: A Catalogue of the drawings by James Hakewill in the British School at Rome Library, Rome 1992, no.5.40, p.267, reproduced.