The road at Posillipo, Naples

[Updated, April 2014) No. 50 of 51 (PAJ2051 - PAJ2101): inscribed by the artist on the album page, 'Strada Posilipo [sic], Naples'. Posillipo was a coastal village just north-west of Naples, but now in its suburbs. As the drawing shows the steep ground above the coast road is a place where summer villas were built for wealthy Neapolitans to escape the city. One of those on the waterfront below the road, still called the Villa Emma, was formerly used by Sir William Hamilton when he was envoy at Naples in the late 18th century (to 1800), though part had to be demolished for later realignment behind it of the road shown here. This drawing shows the former landing place and the coast south towards Naples, with the Castel del Ovo projecting into the sea on the north side of Naples harbour, and Mount Vesuvius on the far side of the bay to the south-east.

When Butt drew this is uncertain. His Japan and China album (PAJ2050) in which it comes second to last, is not entirely chronological and with the last item (PAJ2101, dated 1870) it is the only other European view. He returned from Hong Kong in 1870, and if he did so via the Suez Canal it is possible he could have done it then, although others from the 'Sylvia' are known to have returned home by sail via the Cape of Good Hope. If not, it suggests he was in the Mediterranean at another time but when is not clear, at least while in the Navy. However, since he also seems to have returned to Shanghai in 1892 (with his wife, their youngest son being born there) it may be from that period, given that the route would then have been via Suez. While it might also just be a copy of something else, the individualistic viewpoint suggests this is unlikely.

Object Details

ID: PAJ2100
Type: Drawing
Display location: Not on display
Creator: Butt, James Henry
Places: Napoli Province
Date made: circa 1870 or 1891-2; circa 1870 (?) circa 1870 or 1891-1892
People: Butt, James Henry
Credit: National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London
Measurements: Sheet: 160 x 201 mm
Parts: Album of topographical views, mainly on the coasts of Japan, China and Formosa (Taiwan) (Album)

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