Drawn with the page turned horizontally, the central view is south across the entrance of Grand Canal to the porch of the Dogana overlooking the Bacino, with the plain Seminario Patriarcale towards the right below the domes of the church of Santa Maria della Salute. The main dome of the latter is repeated at the top left, where the main body of the church is shown to the south-west, with the apsidal east end of the former church of San Gregorio to its right, and the dome of the Gesuati (Santa Maria del Rosario), now obscured by the late nineteenth-century Palazzo Genovese, further on.
The loose vertical forms terminating the view towards the right of the upper view appear to be part of the façade of the Hotel Europa (the Palazzo Giustinian), where Turner was staying, confirmed by his note: ‘Balcony of the Europa’. Compare Tate D32296 (Turner Bequest CCCXX 17a) in the contemporary Rotterdam to Venice sketchbook, a view from a similar angle isolated from the main run of Venice subjects later in that book, and perhaps the first drawing (or one of the earliest) made on arrival in the city.
The present view is effectively continued south-eastwards to the left on folio 19 verso (D31828), where San Giorgio Maggiore and the Zitelle are shown across the Bacino. The two pages likely informed Turner’s painting of The Dogano, San Giorgio, Citella, from the Steps of the Europa, exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1842 (Tate N00372),1 although he was long familiar with the scene; see for example the detailed pencil sketches of the Dogana and Salute in the 1819 Milan to Venice sketchbook (Tate D14389, D14417; Turner Bequest CLXXV 40, 54).2
At the bottom left is the spire of the campanile of San Giorgio Maggiore, continued from the view of the church on folio 21 verso (D31832); presumably, turning back from there and finding the upper and middle registers here already filled, Turner would have temporarily rolled back the fore-edge of that page to the gutter here to complete the upper part of the other sketch.
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