Joseph Mallord William Turner

Part of a Panoramic View from the Bacino, Venice: The Riva San Biagio; the Lighthouse on the Isola di San Giorgio Maggiore


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 59

Catalogue entry

The main drawing stops very abruptly mid-bridge on the left, and was evidently if somewhat awkwardly continued directly from the right edge of the verso (D14428), which would have involved temporarily curling the leaf’s edge tightly around to position it halfway across the present page. Together, folios 59 recto and verso, 60 verso and 61 recto (D14427–D14428, D14430–D14431) form a continuous panoramic west view across the Bacino, from the Isola di San Giorgio Maggiore to the south to the Riva San Biagio to the north; Turner would also have had to temporarily turn back D14430 to match its outer edges to the gutter of D14428.
On the present page, Turner shows buildings on the quay of the Riva San Biagio (of which the tallest, with its curved attic pediment, remains recognisable) partly obscured by the sails of a boat from a viewpoint a little off shore; the Ponte San Biasio, at the entrance to the Rio dell’Arsenale, is bisected at the outer edge.
When this leaf was rebound and stamped after being displayed in the nineteenth century, Finberg’s 1909 Inventory sequence, clear from his descriptive titles for the recto and verso, was disrupted. The present page was, by the implication of an ‘a’ suffix in his Inventory, the verso in his estimation, but it has since been bound as the recto and stamped as ‘59’. What is now the verso (D14428) was evidently, by its subject and more light-affected condition, the exhibited side. For a discussion of the twelve leaves removed and restored in this way, see the technical notes in the sketchbook’s Introduction.
At the outer edge, drawn with the page turned vertically are two thumbnail studies of the lighthouse overlooking the Bacino by the small harbour near the church at the north end of the Isola di San Giorgio Maggiore, as Ian Warrell recognised;1 it is seen in a wider setting on D14431. There are faint indications of figures in boats, and the domes of Santa Maria della Salute and the campanile of St Mark’s beyond to the west and north-west. For other drawings made in the vicinity and an overview of Turner’s coverage of Venice, see the sketchbook’s Introduction.
Undated notes in Tate catalogue files.

Matthew Imms
March 2017

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