Joseph Mallord William Turner

Naples from the Sea, with the Arsenal and the Palazzo Reale


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 6

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, perhaps dating from the outward or return trip to Paestum and the Amalfi coast which Turner undertook during his sojourn in the city.1 Visible in this study is the coastline between Santa Lucia and the old port. Lying directly along the water’s edge at the centre of the vista are the buildings of the d’arsena or arsenale (arsenal or naval shipyard), whilst beyond this is the long seventeenth-century façade of the Palazzo Reale. At the top of the hill rising above the city is the Certosa (Charterhouse) di San Martino and the Castel Sant’Elmo. The composition continues on the opposite sheet of the double-page spread, see folio 5 verso (D15917), whilst a successive view can be seen on folio 7 (D15919).
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.2 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.
Warrell 1991, pp.36–8.

Nicola Moorby
July 2010

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