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

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner Looking towards the Largo di Palazzo, Naples, from Santa Lucia, with the Palazzo Reale and the Sant'Elmo Hill 1819

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Folio 61 Recto:
Looking towards the Largo di Palazzo, Naples, from Santa Lucia, with the Palazzo Reale and the Sant’Elmo Hill 1819
D15676
Turner Bequest CLXXXIV 59
Pencil on white wove paper, 122 x 197 mm
Inscribed by ?John Ruskin in blue ink ‘281’ bottom right and ‘59’ top right
Stamped in black ‘CLXXXIV 59’ bottom right
 
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
The view depicted in this sketch looks north-west from Santa Lucia towards the former Largo di Palazzo, an open square outside the Palazzo Reale which was transformed during the nineteenth century into present-day Piazza del Plebiscito.1 The building on the right-hand side of the vista is the western end of the Palazzo Reale and adjacent near the centre of the composition is the Fontana di Gigante (also known as the Fontana di Immacolatella), a monumental Baroque fountain which today is located on the waterfront at the corner of Via Partenope and Via Nazurio Sauro near Castel dell’Ovo. Rising beyond the fountain is the hill surmounted by the Certosa (Charterhouse) di San Martino and the Castel Sant’Elmo.
Turner’s viewpoint is unclear although it appears to be from high vantage point on present-day Via Console Cesario, near Via Santa Lucia, possibly from the Church of Santa Lucia a Mare. The buildings visible on the left are no longer extant. Aside from the nineteenth-century construction of the Piazza del Plebiscito, the Santa Lucia district also underwent dramatic urban renewal including the raising of the Via Santa Lucia to offset rising sea levels and the building of the new waterfront, the Via Partenope.

Nicola Moorby
June 2010

1
A similar view can be seen in Gaspar Van Wittel (1652/3–1736, Veduta dal Largo di Palazzo (Palazzo Zevallos Stigliano, Naples). For a view looking in the opposite direction see Antonio Joli (circa 1700–77), ‘Cuccagna’ in front of the Royal Palace (Collection of Lord Montagu of Beaulieu), reproduced in Giuliano Briganti, Nicola Spinosa and Lindsay Stainton, In the Shadow of Vesuvius: Views of Naples from Baroque to Romanticism 1631–1830, exhibition catalogue, Accademia Italiana delle Arti e delle Arti Applicate, London 1990, p.46.

How to cite

Nicola Moorby, ‘Looking towards the Largo di Palazzo, Naples, from Santa Lucia, with the Palazzo Reale and the Sant’Elmo Hill 1819 by Joseph Mallord William Turner’, catalogue entry, June 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-looking-towards-the-largo-di-palazzo-naples-from-santa-lucia-r1138136, accessed 24 October 2021.