The Bay of Naples from Posillipo, Italy

Image credit: Compton Verney

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Fabris painted many scenes of Neapolitan peasant life, often working for the British ambassador to Naples, Sir William Hamilton. This view shows several well-known buildings in Naples, including the Palazzo Donn’Anna on the left and the Castel Sant’Elmo on the hilltop.

What might the iconic bay of Naples have smelled like in the eighteenth century? Certainly the heady, metallic smell of fish would have drifted on the air. In this lively scene a small child in tattered clothes holds up a fish, recalling renowned German poet Goethe’s description of how Neapolitan children would opportunistically transport fish from the harbour into town: ‘the tiniest brats themselves are not without their many bits of business. A large fraction carry fish from Santa Lucia to sell in the town…’ Johann Wolfgang Goethe, 'Neapolitan Journey', 28 May 1787.

Compton Verney

Compton Verney


The Bay of Naples from Posillipo, Italy




oil on canvas


H 75 x W 128 cm

Accession number

CVCSC : 0181.S

Acquisition method

purchased, 1994

Work type


Normally on display at

Compton Verney

Compton Verney, Warwickshire CV35 9HZ England

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