after Joseph Mallord William Turner

The Approach to Venice, engraved by Robert Wallis


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In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
After Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Line engraving on paper
Image: 397 × 595 mm
Purchased 1988

Display caption

This engraving was published as a single plate in 1859. The original oil painting of the same title was exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1844 together with quotations from Rogers's 'Italy' and Byron's 'Childe Harold's Pilgrimage'. The two lines from Byron are linked with Turner's often repeated imagery of moonrise. One of his uses of this symbol of approaching night is to make allusions to decline and decay. Byron viewed Venice as a place fallen from greatness but possessed of great beauty, and if Turner shared this opinion, it is possible that in 'Approach to Venice' he used the moon to symbolise this perception of the city.

Gallery label, September 2004

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Catalogue entry

T05193 The Approach to Venice engr. R. Wallis

Line-engraving 397 × 595 (15 5/8 × 23 7/16) on India paper laid on wove paper 644 × 822 (25 3/8 × 32 3/8); plate-mark 583 × 731 (22 15/16 × 28 3/4); Print Sellers' Association stamp below image b.l.
Purchased (Grant-in-Aid) 1988
Prov: ...; N.W. Lott and H.J. Gerrish Ltd, from whom bt by Tate Gallery
Lit: W.G. Rawlinson II 1913, no.679, engraver's proof (b); Lyles and Perkins 1989, p.79; Herrmann 1990, p.243

Engraver's proof of plate published singly 1859. Original oil painting: National Gallery of Art, Washington (Butlin and Joll 1984, no.412). This engraver's proof is stamped with the Printsellers' Association stamp, although Rawlinson does not mention the appearance of the stamps until the Remarque Proofs; they continued to appear until the fourth published state. For further information on the Printsellers' Association and the engraver see T05191.

The plate was published in London by Henry Graves who issued several of the large steel plates executed after Turner's death. It was reprinted in about 1894 by the Royal Institute of Painters Art Union.

Published in:
Tate Gallery: Illustrated Catalogue of Acquisitions 1986-88, London 1996

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