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