Joseph Mallord William Turner

Naples from the Sea, with Castel Nuovo and the Mole Lighthouse


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 7

Catalogue entry

As Finberg first identified, the sequence of sketches on folios 3 verso–12 (D15913–D15919 and D15922–D15930) represents detailed panoramic views of Naples drawn from the sea.1 The artist perhaps had the opportunity to make these drawings from a boat during the outward or return trip to Paestum and the Amalfi coast. Visible in this study is the old port of Naples with the Castel Nuovo on the left and the Mole and lighthouse on the right.2 At the top of the hill rising above the city is the Certosa (Charterhouse) di San Martino and the Castel Sant’Elmo, whilst in the distance to the right are the heights of Capodimonte. Successive and related views can be seen on folios 4 and 6 (D15914, D15918).
This page was selected by Ralph Nicholson Wornum for the First Loan Collection, a group of sixty-five works exhibited in the provinces during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.3 It was removed from the sketchbook and displayed within a mount. Consequently, like the other works included in those tours, the drawing has suffered badly from over-exposure to light and the paper has yellowed considerably.
Finberg 1909, p.551.
The port of Naples has undergone extensive redevelopment since the early nineteenth century but the approximate position of the lighthouse was near the present-day ferry terminal of Molo Angioino (Stazione Marittima).
Warrell 1991, pp.36–8.

Nicola Moorby
July 2010

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