Joseph Mallord William Turner

Boats off a Tower and a Domed Church, Venice, Possibly the Campanile of San Marco (St Mark’s) and San Giorgio Maggiore, from the Bacino


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 28 a

Catalogue entry

With the page turned horizontally, Turner focuses on a slightly but assuredly rendered sailing boat (or boats) at the centre, flanked by a distant tower on the left and a dome beside what appears to be a slim spire on the right.
These are perhaps respectively the campanile of San Marco (St Mark’s), with slight indications of the scaffolding then in place around its spire (see the tour Introduction) and the outline of the Palazzo Ducale (Doge’s Palace) below, and the church of San Giorgio Maggiore, both frequently recorded in greater detail elsewhere in this sketchbook and in many other drawings. This would suggest a viewpoint on the west side of the Bacino, ranging north-east and south-east to encompass a much simplified and laterally compressed view.
The tower of St Mark’s is definitely shown on folio 29 recto opposite (D31846).

Matthew Imms
September 2018

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