Joseph Mallord William Turner

The Back of the Palazzo Foscari, Venice, from the Rio di Ca’ Foscari; the Heilig-Kreuz-Kirche, Coburg, and Veste Coburg


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 126 × 198 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCCX 5

Catalogue entry

The main view, made with the page turned horizontally, is of the Rio di Ca’ Foscari, looking east towards its junction with the Grand Canal. In the left foreground is a corner of the Ca’ Dolfin, with the Palazzo Balbi in the distance, now obscured by the Ca’ Foscari Rio Nuovo building opposite the main subject here, the back of the Palazzo Foscari; the front of the latter appears in the distance on folio 4 verso opposite (D31284).
The elaborate doorway from the Fontamenta del Tagiapiera into the courtyard at the right of the Ponte Foscari still stands in a battlemented brick wall, now bearing the legend ‘Universita Ca’ Foscari’ below the heraldic relief sculpture of its stone tympanum. A four-storey terrace now continues along the quay to the right of the tallest building shown on the near side of the gate.
As noted in the sketchbook’s Introduction, the Venice views on its early pages are intermingled with German sketches from Turner’s return journey. Inverted in the sky of the main view is what Cecilia Powell has identified as a Coburg subject, with the spire of the Heilig-Kreuz-Kirche at the northern end of the town’s centre on the right, and the Veste Coburg fortress high to the east beyond; later buildings and tree growth now preclude a clear view.
For the numerous other Coburg views in this book, see under folio 1 verso (D31278).1

Matthew Imms
September 2018

See also Powell 1995, pp.72, 82 notes 63 and 64.

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