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

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner Naples, from the Ponte della Maddalena 1819

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Folio 25 Recto:
Naples, from the Ponte della Maddalena 1819
Turner Bequest CLXXXVII 25
Pencil on white wove paper, 255 x 403 mm
Inscribed by John Ruskin in blue ink ‘25’ bottom right, descending right-hand edge
Stamped in black ‘CLXXXVII 25’ bottom right
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Despite previously being described as a prospect of Naples from the sea, the viewpoint for this study is actually the Ponte della Maddalena, a bridge which stood near the shoreline to the east of the city where the Via Marinella crossed the River Sebeto (within the present-day Vittorio Emanuele III docks). No longer in existence, it was an established and popular vantage point for topographical artists,1 and Turner was probably familiar with a near-contemporaneous drawing by his friend and collaborator, James Hakewill (1778–1873), Naples from the Ponte della Maddalena 1816 (British School at Rome Library).2 The view looks west across the semi-circular bay to encompass the sweep of the city from Castel dell’Ovo on the left, to Santa Maria del Carmine on the far right. Visible in the centre is the port with the Mole lighthouse and the Castel Nuovo, and the landscape rises on the right to the hill, topped by the Certosa (Charterhouse) of San Martino and the Castel Sant’Elmo. Similar views can be found in the Vatican Fragments sketchbook (Tate D15169; Turner Bequest CLXXX 33a) and the Gandolfo to Naples sketchbook (Tate D15649–D15653; Turner Bequest CLXXXIV 46a–48a).
See for example Jakob Philipp Hackert (1737–1807), Veduta di Napoli dal ponte della Maddalena col ritorno della squadra da Livorno 1788 (Palazzo Reale, Caserta), reproduced in colour in Franco Maria Ricci, Philipp Hackert: Vedute del Regno di Napoli, Milan 1992, p.103; Giovanni Battista Lusieri (circa 1755–1821), Napoli dal ponte della Maddalena 1792 (Certosa e Museo di San Martino, Naples), reproduced at http://museosanmartino.campaniabeniculturali.it/itinerari-tematici/nel-museo/T_OA4/RIT_OA1000232; and a drawing by William Marlow (1740–1813), Naples (Tate T09184).
See Tony Cubberley and Luke Herrmann, Twilight of the Grand Tour: A Catalogue of the drawings by James Hakewill in the British School at Rome Library, Rome 1992, no.5.44, p.272, reproduced.
Blank, save for being stamped in black ‘CLXXXVII 25’ and Turner Bequest monogram bottom left.

Nicola Moorby
May 2010

How to cite

Nicola Moorby, ‘Naples, from the Ponte della Maddalena 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-naples-from-the-ponte-della-maddalena-r1132373, accessed 22 May 2019.