Joseph Mallord William Turner

Part of a View of Mergellina and Posillipo from Naples


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 122 × 197 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CLXXXIV 38

Catalogue entry

This sketch is part of a panoramic view of part of the Gulf of Naples, as seen from the city. Turner’s viewpoint is not precisely known but it appears to be an area of high ground to the east of the Chiaia waterfront, possibly the Pizzofalcone Hill (or Monte Echia) above Castel dell’Ovo.1 The vista looks west and south-west, past the long stretch of the Villa Reale promenade (now the Villa Comunale) towards the coastline of Mergellina and Posillipo. Turner has left much of the foreground detail blank or only faintly outlined, but recognisable half-way up the slopes of the distant Posillipo Hill is the church and bell-tower of Sant’Antonio. The composition continues on the opposite sheet of the double-page spread, see folio 38 verso (D15629; Turner Bequest CLXXXIV 37a).

Nicola Moorby
May 2010

Compare the similar vista in a watercolour by Giovanni Battista Lusieri (1755–1821), View of the Bay of Naples from the Palazzo Sessa 1791 (J. Paul Getty Museum, Malibu, California), reproduced in colour in Ian Jenkins and Kim Sloan, Vases and Volcanoes: Sir William Hamilton and his Collection, exhibition catalogue, British Museum, London 1996, no.4, pp.112–3.

Read full Catalogue entry

You might like

In the shop