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Gaspar Butler (active Naples c.1718)
THE PROPERTY OF A FAMILY (LOTS 50, 51 & 61)
Gaspar Butler (active Naples c.1718)

View of Naples with the English Fleet from the sea

Details
Gaspar Butler (active Naples c.1718)
View of Naples with the English Fleet from the sea
oil on silvered copper
16½ x 41¼ in. (42 x 104.8 cm.)
in a contemporary English carved and gilded frame
Provenance
In an unidentified sale in London, probably in the later 19th century, lot 249, with extract from the catalogue 'GASPAR BOILA, 1727 249 A ditto,on copper panel 42in by 18in - "Town of Naples, with sea- shore, Boats and Vesuvius in the distance" in carved gilt frame 250 a ditto-the companion picture, with Ships of the Line', attached to the frame.
Purchased by an ancestor of the present owners, circa 1900.

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Miriam Winson-Alio
Miriam Winson-Alio

Lot Essay

This panorama of Naples shows from the left the Castel del Ovo, with Cape Posillipo behind, the ridge of Pizzofalcone, the Castel Nuovo, with the Certosa di San Martino and the Castel Sant'Elmo on the hill behind, the harbour and Cellamare, with the Duomo under the figure of Peace. The English Fleet is seen in the bay.

The English fleet had a key role in Naples after the Peace of Utrecht of 1713, as a result of which the kingdom of Naples and Sicily passed to Vittorio Amedeo of Savoy, who had been a staunch ally of England and Austria against the Bourbons in the War of Spanish Succession, but surrendered the kingdom in exchange for that of Sardinia in 1720.

This is evidently the prime original of a type previously known from two pictures in the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, one, also on copper and measuring 45.5 x 104 cm., the second, on canvas and rather larger (65 x 148.5 cm.) (see C. Beddington, exhibition catalogue, Capolavori di Festa, Naples, 1998, p. 147, under no. 1.5, p. 145, figs. 1.5a and 1.5b). The latter has a very similar cartouche, supported by Fame and Victory: both this and the cartouche in this picture are similar in design to those in Nicolò Maria Rossi's Cortege of the Viceroy on the way to the Basilica at Piedigrotta and the Viceroy at the festa of the Quattro Altari in the Harrach collection at Rohrau (N. Spinosa, Pittura napoletana del Settecento dal Barocco al Rococò, Naples, 1993, figs. 122-3): as Charles Beddington points out a similar cartouche is found in a panorama of Naples by Tommaso Ruiz, which formed part of a major group of views by that artist. The Greenwich pictures have both been identified as of the arrival of the fleet commanded by Admiral George Byng, later 1st Viscount Torrington, off Naples on 1 August 1718, but it seems unlikely that the same event is shown in the two, as the canvas includes many fewer vessels than the picture on copper at Greenwich, or indeed this example, in which one has a much clearer sense of the fleet arriving from the west and, while roughly the same number of warships are shown, twenty-three as opposed to twenty-two, the positioning of almost all of these differs. A further picture, of smaller format, also on copper and with a cartouche, may have been owned by Byng.

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