Turner made a sequence of studies of Palladio's church of S. Giorgio Maggiore on his 1840 trip to Venice. The 'Autobiography' of the watercolourist William Callow (1812-1908) contains an interesting glimpse of Turner at work during this visit: 'The next time I saw Turner was at Venice, at Hotel Europa, where we sat opposite at meals and entered into conversation. One evening whilst I was enjoying a cigar in a gondola I saw Turner sketching San Giorgio, brilliantly lit up by the settting sun.' It is likely that a number of the studies made by Turner on this trip, including perhaps some of San Giorgio, were coloured in front of the motif.
Gallery label, August 2004