Joseph Mallord William Turner

The Gulf of Naples, Seen from Vesuvius


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 40 c

Catalogue entry

Turner made a series of sketches of Naples and the surrounding landscape as seen from the ascent to the summit of Vesuvius, see folio 46 verso (D15645; Turner Bequest CLXXXIV 44a). This rough pencil study depicts the semi-circular sweep of the Bay and Gulf of Naples looking west/south-west from the higher slopes of the volcano.1 The details on the right-hand side represents Naples itself with the headland of Castel dell’Ovo leading up to the hill of Castel Sant’Elmo, and the greater heights of Camaldoli beyond. Curving round beyond the city is the coastline of Posillipo towards the island of Ischia on the far left-hand side. Turner has also indicated the position of the sun setting just above the Capo di Posillipo (Cape of Posillipo).
Part of the composition spills over onto the opposite sheet of the double-page spread, see folio 43 (D15638; Turner Bequest CLXXXIV 41).

Nicola Moorby
May 2010

For a similar view compare John ‘Warwick’ Smith (1749–1831), City of Naples from Vesuvius 1778–9 (Tate, T08509).

Read full Catalogue entry

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