Joseph Mallord William Turner

A Fishing Boat off San Giorgio Maggiore, Venice; the Dome of the Redentore in the Distance


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 89 × 149 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCCXX 86

Catalogue entry

Folios 82 verso–87 recto (D32424–D32433), all drawn with the pages turned horizontally, form a brief sequence of views around the Bacino. This is a similar study to that on folio 84 verso (D32428), from off the Riva degli Schiavoni, looking south-south-west to the island church of San Giorgio Maggiore, with the north side of the church and the building with three rounded gables to its east seen in elevation. Compare the skyline of a loosely atmospheric contemporary colour study across the water at sunset (Tate D32161; Turner Bequest CCCXVI 24).
Finberg annotated his 1909 Inventory entry, including his reading of Turner’s incidental note (‘Fishing boat sailing. – “Al Veneta Marine Caffe Alexina Maria Deppo dem ... Lundo.”’): ‘with S. Giorgio beyond’. He also changed the ‘e’ of ‘Marine’ to ‘a’, and amended the later words to ‘Depo domani Leonidi’.1 The Turner scholar C.F. Bell marked another copy, similarly changing the ‘e’ and making the last phrase ‘Depo domani [?Lunidi]’;2 a reading of ‘Doppo domani Lundi’ would indicate ‘after tomorrow Monday’. The first part of the inscription may be the name and address of a café, perhaps in combination with a woman’s name. ‘Al Veneta Marina’ likely relates to the Ponte Veneta Marina spanning the entrance to the Rio della Tana off the Canale di San Marco south of the Arsenale, which appears in contemporary sketches; see under Tate D31809 (Turner Bequest CCCXIII 10) in the Venice and Botzen sketchbook.
Turner appears to have shown the campanile and dome of San Giorgio again from a different angle towards the left, overlapping with the sails of the boat passing towards the Canale di San Marco. Towards the top right is a separate detail of a different dome and campanile, which may be those of the Redentore, seen to the south-west from the same point or further west; see also under folio 85 verso opposite (D32430).
Andrew Wilton suggested that this page and the verso (D32432) were ‘perhaps connected’ with a watercolour study in the Grand Canal and Giudecca sketchbook (Tate D32125; Turner Bequest CCCXV 9);3 the port view of a prominent boat sailing past waterfront buildings on what may be the western reaches of the Canale della Giudecca is loosely comparable with the present sketch, but any resemblance is likely generic.

Matthew Imms
September 2018

Undated MS note by Finberg (died 1939) in interleaved copy of Finberg 1909, Prints and Drawings Room, Tate Britain, II, p.1033; see also Finberg 1930, p.170, for the San Giorgio identification.
Undated MS note by Bell (died 1966) in copy of Finberg 1909, Prints and Drawings Room, Tate Britain, II, p.1033.
Wilton 1974, p.156.

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