Joseph Mallord William Turner

Venice: Fireworks on the Molo

1840

View this artwork by appointment, at Tate Britain's Prints and Drawings Rooms

Medium
Watercolour, bodycolour and chalk on paper
Dimensions
Support: 228 x 300 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D32229
Turner Bequest CCCXVIII 10

Display caption

During the mid-1830s and the early 1840s Turner became increasingly interested in exploring dramatic effects of light and shade. Turner’s combination of dark-toned watercolour, bodycolour and chalk in this work is perfectly suited to the subject of fireworks at night. He uses only a few colours: blue, red and touches of dark brown and, most dramatically, white for the sparks of the fireworks.

Turner’s Venetian works on brown paper have recently been re-dated to 1840, although this continues to be controversial amongst scholars and the works may date from 1833.

Gallery label, September 2004