J.M.W. Turner: Sketchbooks, Drawings and Watercolours

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner Bay of Naples and Vesuvius from Castel Sant'Elmo 1819

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Bay of Naples and Vesuvius from Castel Sant’Elmo 1819
Pencil on white wove paper, 256 x 403 mm
Inscribed by unknown hand(s) ‘CLXXXVII.13’ bottom centre right and ‘60’ bottom right
Stamped in black ‘CLXXXVII 13’ bottom centre
The subject of this faint pencil drawing is a view of the city and bay of Naples looking east from Castel Sant’Elmo, a sixteenth-century fortress laid out in the shape of a six-pointed star which is situated on the summit of the hill of the same name. Turner’s viewpoint is a location on present-day Via Tito Angelini with the vast sides of the castle rising on the right. At the foot of the walls is the entrance to the castle accessed from a small crossing supported by two arches, whilst visible beyond is part of the adjacent complex of the Certosa (Charterhouse) of San Martino. Spread out beneath the Castel Sant’Elmo is the sweeping curve of the bay of Naples leading to the great outline of Vesuvius on the left-hand side of the composition. Amongst the identifiable Neapolitan landmarks are, in the left-hand middle distance the dome of the Chiesa della Spirito Santa and the bell-tower and church of Santa Chiara, whilst on the far right-hand side of the coastline is the lighthouse of the Mole.
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Technical notes:
Not mentioned by Finberg,1 this drawing is on the verso of D16101 (Turner Bequest CLXXXVII 13). Long detached from the Naples, Rome C. Studies sketchbook, the sheet was perhaps once folio 13 (see the concordance in the introduction).

Nicola Moorby
May 2010

See A.J. Finberg, A Complete Inventory of the Drawings of the Turner Bequest, London 1909, vol.I, p.555.

How to cite

Nicola Moorby, ‘Bay of Naples and Vesuvius from Castel Sant’Elmo 1819 by Joseph Mallord William Turner’, catalogue entry, May 2010, in David Blayney Brown (ed.), J.M.W. Turner: Sketchbooks, Drawings and Watercolours, Tate Research Publication, December 2012, https://www.tate.org.uk/art/research-publications/jmw-turner/joseph-mallord-william-turner-bay-of-naples-and-vesuvius-from-castel-santelmo-r1132361, accessed 24 May 2024.