Joseph Mallord William Turner

View of the Bay of Pozzuoli with the Islands of Nisida and Ischia


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 55 a

Catalogue entry

This page contains three on-the-spot sketches associated with Turner’s exploration of the Campi Flegrei (Phlegraean or Burning Fields) to the west of Naples. The two main studies are variant views of the same prospect looking across the Bay of Pozzuoli with the Capo di Posillipo and the island of Nisida on the left, and Cape Misenum (Capo Miseno) and the islands of Procida and Ischia on the right. Turner’s viewpoint appears to be looking south-west from the valley which lies between the Posillipo Hill and Lake Agnano (near present-day Via Caravaggio in Fuorigrotta). A further related drawing can be seen on folio 58 (D15668; Turner Bequest CLXXXIV 56), and more detailed and careful versions of both vistas can be found within the Naples: Rome C. Studies sketchbook (Tate D16103 and D16105; Turner Bequest CLXXXVII 15 and 17). In particular the inscription referring to ‘wine filled casks’ in the bottom left-hand corner of the upper study appears to find a parallel within the barrels and bottles included in the foreground of one of these compositions (Tate D16103; Turner Bequest CLXXXVII 15). See these entries for a more detailed description of the landscape.
Also in the bottom right-hand corner of the uppermost views is a further thumbnail sketch which Turner has inscribed ‘Gate of P’. As Finberg suggested, this perhaps records the entry point of the port of Pozzuoli.1

Nicola Moorby
May 2010

Finberg 1909, p.544.

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