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Although this painting is unfinished, it is possible to imagine how Turner would have developed it. The top half of the Doge's Palace and the Campanile of S.Marco are recognisable, but Turner abandoned the picture before bringing it to the detailed finish of other Venetian subjects dating from the 1830s. Among the group of figures in the foreground on the left is the Doge, depicted in the act of wedding the sea through the ritualised gift of a gold ring. The ceremony had ceased to take place by Turner's time, which implies that he intended the picture to be an historical subject.

September 2004