The Berger Collection


Thomas Jones (1742–1803)
A View of Certosa di San Martino with the Castel Sant' Elmo, Naples
Oil on canvas
17 1/2 x 33 3/4 in. (44.5 x 85.7 cm)

Thomas Jones traveled to Italy in 1776, remaining for seven years, mainly dividing his time between Naples and Rome. He loved Naples in particular and painted its distinctive skyline repeatedly. He was especially interested in capturing the effect of sunlight on the lastricia, or flat roofs, of the city's buildings. Jones sought out lodgings with a good view over the city. In May 1782, he finally found a small room: "in a little convent adjoining, called the Capella Vecchia, situated in the Borgo of the Chaja & very near Sr W'm Hamilton's palace....The only window it had, looked into a small garden, and over a part of the suburbs, particularly the Capella Nuova, another convent the Porta di Chaja, Palace of villa Franca and part of the Hill of Pusillipo, with the Castle of St. Elmo & convent of St. Martino &c. all of which objects, I did not omit making finished studies of in oil upon primed paper."

Jones's description of the view from his room in the convent is close to that seen here. He probably painted this picture from an oil-on-paper sketch he had executed from the Capella Vecchia window.


Provenance

Private collection, U.S.; Sotheby's, New York, January 30, 1997, lot 167

Bibliography

Literature: R. Edwards, Thomas Jones (1742-1803), exhibition catalogue, 1970; J. Fenton, "Who Was Thomas Jones?" The New York Review of Books, Vol.XLIV, no. 4, March 6, 1997; "Thomas Jones's Memoirs," Walpole Sciety, Vol. XXXII, 1951


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