Joseph Mallord William Turner

Gondolas on the Rio de Palazzo, Venice, with the Bridge of Sighs in the Distance


Not on display

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 112 × 185 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CLXXV 39 a

Catalogue entry

Finberg subsequently annotated his 1909 Inventory entry (‘Boats, with the Bridge of Sighs in distance’): ‘“Palazzo S. Marco” (?Pal. d. Patriarcato) [‘Scuola de S Marco.’ inserted below, and ‘on left.’ above] looking along Rio to B. of Sighs?’. Although he crossed out the reference to the bridge and inserted other suggestions above and below, he cancelled these out in turn and ticked his original suggestion.1 The Turner scholar C.F. Bell wrote in another copy: ‘Ponte della Paglia in the foreground’.2 However, Bell marked Finberg’s 1930 In Venice with Turner (‘Looking up the Rio di Palazzo, from the Trevisan palace ...’): ‘Ponte Canonica in foreground’.3
The view is inverted relative to the sketchbook’s foliation, looking south along the Rio de Palazzo (or de Canonica), running down the eastern side of the Palazzo Ducale (Doge’s Palace). The viewpoint appears to be north of the pedestrian Ponte dei Consorzi. The Ponte della Canonica is further towards the elevated Bridge of Sighs, while the Ponte della Paglia is on the far side of the latter from this direction.
For other studies of boats in this sketchbook, see under folio 37 recto (D14383), and for other drawings made in the vicinity of the Doge’s Palace and an overview of Turner’s coverage of Venice, see the sketchbook’s Introduction. The drawings on folios 37 verso–39 verso (D14384–D14388) are all of a similarly slight character, with more attention paid to the small craft than their settings.

Matthew Imms
March 2017

Undated MS note by A.J. Finberg (died 1939) in interleaved copy of Finberg 1909, Tate Britain Prints and Drawings Room, I, opposite p.513; see also p.513 itself, where the corresponding printed words are both crossed out and ticked, and Finberg’s album of ‘Turner’s Work’, no date, Tate Britain Prints and Drawings Room, vol.V, notes on the back of a photograph of this page at folio 71.
Undated MS note by C.F. Bell (died 1966) in copy of Finberg 1909, Tate Britain Prints and Drawings Room, I, p.513.
Undated MS note by Bell (before 1936) in copy of Finberg 1930, Prints and Drawings Study Room, British Museum, London, p.163, as transcribed by Ian Warrell (undated notes, Tate catalogue files).

Read full Catalogue entry

You might like

In the shop