Joseph Mallord William Turner

Part of a View of Naples and Vesuvius from Mergellina


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 65

Catalogue entry

This sketch represents part of a view of Naples from Mergellina, a small fishing village and port about a mile west of the main city towards Posillipo. The vista looks east along the Chiaia waterfront with the hill surmounted by Castel Sant’Elmo and the Certosa di San Martino on the right-hand side above. The building visible on the heights of the Vomero Hill to the left meanwhile is the seventeenth-century Villa Belvedere. The slope towards the left-hand side of the scene is a road known as the Salita di Sant’Antonio which led from Piedgrotta to the church of Sant’Antonio. In the early nineteenth century the seafront was further back than it is today (present-day Via Caracciolo was built after land was reclaimed from the sea in 1845).1 The composition continues on the opposite sheet of the double-page spread with Castel dell’Ovo and Vesuvius, see folio 66 verso (D16036; Turner Bequest CLXXXVI 64a). Related sketches can be found on folios 64 verso–65 (D16032–D16033; Turner Bequest CLXXXVI 62a–63).

Nicola Moorby
July 2010

Compare paintings by Claude-Joseph Vernet (1714–1789), Naples from Mergellina (Alnick, Duke of Northumberland’s Collection), and Giovan Battista Lusieri (circa 1755–1821), Naples from Mergellina (two sheets in separate private collections), all reproduced in Giuliano Briganti, Nicola Spinosa and Lindsay Stainton, All’ombra del Vesuvio: Napoli nella veduta europea dal Quattrocento all’Ottocento / In the Shadow of Vesuvius: Views of Naples from Baroque to Romanticism 1631–1830, exhibition catalogue, Accademia Italiana delle Arti e dell arti Applicate, London 1990, pp.19 and 82–3.

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