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One of the most famous landmarks in Venice, the Bridge of Sighs connects the Doge’s Palace on the left with the prisons of the Palazzo dei Prigioni to the right. When Turner exhibited the painting in 1840, he accompanied it with lines based on Byron’s poem, Childe Harold's Pilgrimage:
 
‘I stood upon a bridge, a palace and
A prison on each hand.’ 

Indeed it was Byron who allegedly coined the name of the bridge, deriving its title from the mournful image of convicts taking their last glimpse of the city before being led down to the darkness of the cells.

February 2010