Joseph Mallord William Turner

Studies of ?Fishermen in Small Boats on the Lagoon near Venice, with the Campanile of San Marco (St Mark’s) in the Distance

1840

In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Graphite on paper
Dimensions
Support: 123 × 173 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D31873
Turner Bequest CCCXIII 42 a

Catalogue entry

There are various rapid, related sketches here, made with the page turned horizontally. Finberg later annotated his 1909 Inventory entry (‘Shipping’): ‘Several slight sketches from Lagoon’.1 He also placed the page within a sequence ‘from the canal Orfano, at the back of S. Giorgio’ (folios 40 recto–44 recto; D31868–D31876),2 running south off the Canale di San Marco into more open waters. There are slight indications of the distant skyline of Venice, with the campanile of San Marco (St Mark’s) distinguished by its scaffolding, towards the bottom left; for these temporary platforms in terms of dating such views, see the tour’s Introduction.
Various figures in small boats are shown; they may be fishermen, as the arc of what is likely a floating seine net is shown. Tate D36192 (Turner Bequest CCCLXIV 334) is a contemporary watercolour of the Lagoon by moonlight, with figures who are perhaps also fishermen. See also the recto and folio 43 recto opposite (D31872, D31874).

Matthew Imms
September 2018

1
Undated MS note by Finberg (died 1939) in interleaved copy of Finberg 1909, Prints and Drawings Room, Tate Britain, II, p.1011.
2
Finberg 1930, p.171.

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