A View of the Bay of Naples, Looking Southwest from the Pizzofalcone towards Capo di Posilippo

Object Details


A View of the Bay of Naples, Looking Southwest from the Pizzofalcone towards Capo di Posilippo


Giovanni Battista Lusieri (Italian, about 1755 - 1821)




Naples, Italy (Place created)




Watercolor, gouache, graphite, and pen and ink on six sheets of paper


101.8 x 271.9 cm (40 1/16 x 107 1/16 in.)

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Sir William Hamilton, British envoy to the court of Naples from 1764 to 1800, wanted a painting of the panoramic view of the Bay of Naples from his apartment window. He sought out the Italian artist Giovanni Battista Lusieri, whose detailed drawings and watercolors of views of Naples and other Italian sites were popular with Grand Tourists in the 1780s and 1790s.

Lusieri produced this sweeping view on six sheets of watercolor paper. Its clarity, purity of color, and accuracy of detail led many people to believe that Lusieri used a telescope or camera obscura to record the intricacies, proportion, and perspective of his settings. He was a slow and painstaking draftsman; this drawing is one of his few important, completely finished works. He proceeded slowly, first drawing the entire scene in outline down to the smallest detail with a faint but hard pencil and then finishing and coloring the work on location, rather than in a studio. An English tourist wrote of Lusieri: "As an artist he was always slow in deliberation; but it was the tardiness of the most scrupulous accuracy; for he frequently laid on even his colours on the spot..."

1791 - 1801

Sir William Hamilton, 1730 - 1803 [Hamilton sale, Christies, London, March 28, lot 24, probably to Richard Temple-Nugent-Brydges-Chandos-Grenville.], commissioned from the artist, shipped to England.

by 1817

Richard Temple-Nugent-Brydges-Chandos-Grenville, First Duke of Buckingham and Chandos, 1776 - 1839, probably acquired at the Hamilton sale.


Richard Grenville, second duke of Buckingham and Chandos, 1797 - 1861 [Stowe sale, Christie and Manson (on premises), lot 160, September 13, to Richard Grenville, 1848.]

Richard Grenville, third duke of Buckingham and Chandos, 1823 - 1889, by inheritance to his daughter, Mary Temple-Gore-Langdon, 1889.

1889 -

Mary Temple-Gore-Langdon, 1852 - 1944 [Stowe sale, Jackson Stops, lot 1562, probably to H. Shaw, 1921]

1921 - 1922

H. Shaw [Stowe slae, Jackson Stops, lot 204, October 13, to Allied Schools (as part of the fixtures of Stowe), 1922.]

1922 - 1984

Stowe School (near Buckingham)


Artemis Fine Arts Ltd. (London, England)

All'Ombra del Vesuvio: Napoli Nella Veduta Europa / In the Shadow of Vesuvius: Naples in the European View (May 11 to July 29, 1990) (407)
  • Museo e Gallerie Nazionali di Capodimonte, May 11 to July 29, 1990
Goethe and the Visual Arts (May 20 to August 7, 1994) (286; OVERSIZE)
  • Schirn Kunsthalle (Frankfurt), May 20 to August 7, 1994
Vases and Volcanoes: Sir William Hamilton, Collector and Connoisseur (March 12, 1995 to July 14, 1996) (286; OVERSIZE)
  • The British Museum, (London), March 12, 1995 to July 14, 1996
Devices of Wonder: From the World in a Box to Images on a Screen (November 13, 2001 to February 3, 2002) (255)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles)
Expanding Horizons: Giovanni Battista Lusieri and the Panoramic Landscape (June 30 to October 28, 2012) (20)
  • National Gallery of Scotland, (Edinburgh), June 30 to October 28, 2012
Education Resources

Education Resource




The Poetry of Architecture

Lesson in which students explore architectural structures/nature in paintings; describe a painting's mood, draw, write poetry, make a camera obscura.

Visual Arts; English–Language Arts; History–Social Science


Three/Five-Part Lesson