Joseph Mallord William Turner

?Near Santa Maria dei Monti, Naples


Not on display

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 65 × 113 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CLXXXVI 25 c

Catalogue entry

This rugged landscape with its Stone (or Umbrella) pine trees and various buildings along the brow of the hill is highly reminiscent of a number of views by Thomas Jones (1742–1803) and Francis Towne (1739–1816) painted on the road to the Neapolitan monastery of Santa Maria dei Monti in 1781.1 This church can be found at the top of a winding road (present-day Via Santa Maria ai Monti) between Capodimonte and Capodichino to the north-east of the city. Compare for example Jones’s watercolour, In the Road to Santa Maria dei Monti, near Naples: Morning 1781 (Tate, T03367) which may depict the same domed building visible on the left of Turner’s sketch. The older Welsh artist had described the wild and ‘romantick’ country in this remote part of Naples as the embodiment of the work of Salvator Rosa (1615–1673).2 A similar type of scenery can be seen on folio 28 (D15962; Turner Bequest CLXXXVI 26).

Nicola Moorby
July 2010

See Francis W. Hawcroft, Travels in Italy 1776–1783: Based on the “Memoirs” of Thomas Jones, exhibition catalogue, Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester 1988, pp.103–5, and Timothy Wilcox, Francis Towne, exhibition catalogue, Tate Gallery, London 1997, pp.151–2.

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