Joseph Mallord William Turner

The Summit of Vesuvius from Its Slopes; and Part of a View of the Gulf of Naples Seen from the Ascent

1819

In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Graphite on paper
Dimensions
Support: 122 x 197 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D15640
Turner Bequest CLXXXIV 42

Catalogue entry

As Cecilia Powell first identified, 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).1 This page contains two separate studies associated with that expedition. The main sketch on the left is part of a view of the Bay and Gulf of Naples looking west/south-west from the heights of the volcano.2 The composition continues on the opposite sheet of the double-page spread, see folio 43 verso (D15639; Turner Bequest CLXXXIV 41a).
The drawing on the right-hand side of the sheet depicts a view of the conical-shaped summit of Vesuvius seen from the slopes beneath. A thin trail of smoke issues from the crater and Turner’s rough, on-the-spot draughtsmanship captures a sense of the difficult, rocky terrain.

Nicola Moorby
May 2010

1
Powell 1984, p.424.
2
For a similar view compare John ‘Warwick’ Smith (1749–1831), City of Naples from Vesuvius 1778–9 (Tate, T08509).

Read full Catalogue entry

Explore

You might like