Joseph Mallord William Turner

A Bridge and Buildings in Venice


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 123 × 173 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCCXIII 68

Catalogue entry

This drawing was made with the page turned horizontally. Finberg later annotated his basic 1909 Inventory entry (‘Buildings in Venice’): ‘very rough’.1 There are figures on a broad bridge or quay in the foreground, with waterfront buildings beyond. Turner’s inscription, likely a single word, is yet to be deciphered, while the marks at the top right appear to constitute a separate detail or subject.
As discussed under folio 60 verso (D31909), many of the Venice drawings between there and folio 69 recto (D31926) are in a conspicuously rough mode, sometimes with identifiable landmarks but often seemingly rushed to the point of incoherence, perhaps either on account of stormy weather (see under folio 60 recto; D31908) or failing light.
The even looser sketch on the verso (D31925) may show the same scene.
Undated MS note by Finberg (died 1939) in interleaved copy of Finberg 1909, Prints and Drawings Room, Tate Britain, II, p.1012.
Technical notes:
The five leaves at the back of this sketchbook were apparently detached by accident or design at some stage; folios 66 and 67 (Tate D31920–D31923) are now secured to stubs formed by a narrow folded strip of modern paper, while folios 68, 69 and 70 (D31924–D31928) have been attached and reinforced at the gutter with thin Japanese-type conservation paper.

Matthew Imms
September 2018

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