Joseph Mallord William Turner

Boats off the Molo and Riva degli Schiavoni, Venice, with the Palazzo Ducale (Doge’s Palace), Ponte della Paglia and Bridge of Sighs, New Prisons and Hotel Danieli (Palazzo Dandolo)


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 89

Catalogue entry

Finberg later annotated his basic 1909 Inventory entry (‘The Molo’): ‘B. of Sighs, with Ponte Paglia’.1 The Turner scholar C.F. Bell similarly marked another copy: ‘Ponte della Paglia’.2 With the page turned horizontally, the view is north-west along the Riva degli Schiavoni, with the eastern end of the Molo in the left foreground, and the south-eastern corner of the Palazzo Ducale (Doge’s Palace) above. Next comes the Ponte della Paglia over the entrance to the Rio del Palazzo, with the elevated Bridge of Sighs leading to the New Prisons. In his haste, Turner only indicated six rather than seven arches along its quayside arcade, and only articulated the first of the corresponding first-floor bays. To the right, beyond where a higher modern façade now runs, is the Hotel Danieli (Palazzo Dandolo).
The view was very familiar and recalls the composition of the oil painting Venice, the Bridge of Sighs, exhibited at the Royal Academy earlier in 1840 (Tate N00527).3 See also a slight contemporary sketch on buff-grey paper (Tate D32196; Turner Bequest CCCXVII 14a).
The horizontal view on folio 88 verso opposite (D32437) continues the view to the left, effectively forming a panorama with this one.

Matthew Imms
September 2018

Undated MS note by Finberg (died 1939) in interleaved copy of Finberg 1909, Prints and Drawings Room, Tate Britain, II, opposite p.1033; see also Finberg 1930, p.171.
Undated MS note by Bell (died 1966) in copy of Finberg 1909, Prints and Drawings Room, Tate Britain, II, p.1033.
Martin Butlin and Evelyn Joll, The Paintings of J.M.W. Turner, revised ed., New Haven and London 1984, p.235 no.383, pl.386 (colour).

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