Joseph Mallord William Turner

Naples, from the Ponte della Maddalena


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
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 25

Catalogue entry

Despite previously being described as a prospect of Naples from the sea, the viewpoint for this study is actually the Ponte della Maddalena, a bridge which stood near the shoreline to the east of the city where the Via Marinella crossed the River Sebeto (within the present-day Vittorio Emanuele III docks). No longer in existence, it was an established and popular vantage point for topographical artists,1 and Turner was probably familiar with a near-contemporaneous drawing by his friend and collaborator, James Hakewill (1778–1873), Naples from the Ponte della Maddalena 1816 (British School at Rome Library).2 The view looks west across the semi-circular bay to encompass the sweep of the city from Castel dell’Ovo on the left, to Santa Maria del Carmine on the far right. Visible in the centre is the port with the Mole lighthouse and the Castel Nuovo, and the landscape rises on the right to the hill, topped by the Certosa (Charterhouse) of San Martino and the Castel Sant’Elmo. Similar views can be found in the Vatican Fragments sketchbook (Tate D15169; Turner Bequest CLXXX 33a) and the Gandolfo to Naples sketchbook (Tate D15649–D15653; Turner Bequest CLXXXIV 46a–48a).
See for example Jakob Philipp Hackert (1737–1807), Veduta di Napoli dal ponte della Maddalena col ritorno della squadra da Livorno 1788 (Palazzo Reale, Caserta), reproduced in colour in Franco Maria Ricci, Philipp Hackert: Vedute del Regno di Napoli, Milan 1992, p.103; Giovanni Battista Lusieri (circa 1755–1821), Napoli dal ponte della Maddalena 1792 (Certosa e Museo di San Martino, Naples), reproduced at; and a drawing by William Marlow (1740–1813), Naples (Tate T09184).
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.5.44, p.272, reproduced.
Blank, save for being stamped in black ‘CLXXXVII 25’ and Turner Bequest monogram bottom left.

Nicola Moorby
May 2010

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