The view is south-east to the Piazzetta from the Piazza San Marco (St Mark’s Square), with the west front of the Basilica on the left and the Palazzo Ducale (Doge’s Palace) at the centre. Rough verticals at the centre represent the three towering flagpoles in front of the Basilica. On the right is the lower part of the campanile of St Mark’s, with dots marking the staircase windows at its north-east corner. The rapid zig-zags below represent a crowd in the square.
There is some brown staining to the edges at the top right. This is one of four slight subjects on the recto of a sheet folded vertically and horizontally; see also Tate D32192, D32194 and D34195 (Turner Bequest CCCXVII 13a, c, d), and compare Tate D32196–D32199 (Turner Bequest CCCXVII 14a–d). The dimensions given are as recorded by Tate conservators, representing the overall sheet, and those of the present portion are approximately half those given in each direction.
Slight irregularities along the overall top edge of CCCXVII 13 (the half comprising D32192–D32193) match those at the bottom edge of the verso of CCCXVII 14 (D32198–D32199), showing that they once formed a continuous sheet. In discussing the papers used in Venice in 1840, Ian Warrell has described this as ‘Lightweight buff grey-paper from an unknown source, possibly English, with the watermark: “W”’.1
Among the Venetian sheets in paper conservator Peter Bower’s 1999 survey of Turner’s later papers,2 Tate D32233 (Turner Bequest CCCXVIII 14) was exhibited3 and reproduced, but there is a seemingly inadvertent mismatch.4 The detailed description and discussion of the sheet appear to apply to CCCXVII 14, and Bower also refers to ‘CCCXVIII 13’,5 meaning the present sheet. Bower noted: ‘Lightweight buff-grey wove | Watermark: W | Unknown maker’. He went on: ‘This quarter sheet is part of a well-formed lightweight buff wove sheet that also includes CCCXVIII 13’ (i.e. CCCXVII 13), torn down from a ‘full sheet size of approximately 17 ¾ x 22 ¾’ (inches; 450 x 578 mm), which ‘only matches one English paper size, Extra Large Post’, generally used for ‘white writing paper rather than coloured papers’; he suggested the German ‘Gross Median’ format of 460 x 590 mm as another possibility. Bower noted Tate D40202 (Turner Bequest LXXIV C), ‘erroneously catalogued as part of the  Grenoble sketchbook’, but likely a Swiss 1840s sketch, as a ‘part sheet of this same paper ... also watermarked W in an outline capital’6 (compare the watermark on Tate D32195; Turner Bequest CCCXVII 13d).