Joseph Mallord William Turner

Distant Views of Venice from the Canal Orfano off San Giorgio Maggiore, with the Campanile of San Marco (St Mark’s) and the Island Church of San Servolo; ?Fishermen in Small Boats


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 42

Catalogue entry

There are several scattered studies here, made with the page turned horizontally. Finberg later annotated his 1909 Inventory entry (‘Distant buildings’): ‘Doge’s Pal etc from Lagoon’.1 The Turner scholar C.F. Bell marked another copy beside the entries for folios 40 recto–42 recto (D31868–D31872): ‘All views from gondola. The Campanile always scaffolded’.2 The latter observation is important in dating this sketchbook to 1840, as discussed in the tour’s Introduction.
At the bottom left is a slight reprise of the main elements of a similar sketch on folio 41 verso opposite (D31871), which is continued a little way onto this page at the bottom right. The domes of Santa Maria della Salute, the dome and campanile of San Giorgio Maggiore and the campanile of San Marco are seen from the Canal Orfano south-east of San Giorgio, as mentioned by Finberg in relation to folios 40 recto–44 recto (D31868–D31876);3 it runs south off the Canale di San Marco towards the more open waters of the Lagoon. The slight drawings above and to the right show waterfront buildings.
At the top left, the view seems to be in the opposite direction, south-east in the direction of the Lido, with the twin campanili of the island church of San Servolo. Low buildings on another of the nearby islands appear to be shown at the top right.
Between these views are rapid studies of figures in small boats. They may be fishermen in the Lagoon; compare the verso and folio 43 recto (D31873–D31874).

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.1011.
Undated MS note by Bell (died 1966) in copy of Finberg 1909, Prints and Drawings Room, Tate Britain, II, p.1011.
See also Finberg 1930, p.171.

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