Joseph Mallord William Turner

The Bridge of Sighs and Palazzo Ducale (Doge’s Palace), Venice, from the Ponte della Canonica on the Rio del Palazzo

1840

In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Graphite on paper
Dimensions
Support: 89 × 149 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D32439
Turner Bequest CCCXX 90

Catalogue entry

Finberg later annotated his basic 1909 Inventory entry (‘A canal’): ‘B. of Sighs, from Canal, looking backwards twds S. Giorgio | Rio della Canonica’.1 The Turner scholar C.F. Bell marked another copy: ‘Rio della Canonica’.2 Finberg published his amendment as ‘Bridge of Sighs from the Rio di Palazzo’.3 With the page turned horizontally, the view is south-south-east down the Rio del Palazzo from the Ponte della Canonica, towards the elevated Bridge of Sighs, with slight indications in the distance of the Ponte della Paglia, and buildings on the Isola di San Giorgio Maggiore across the Bacino beyond.
On the left, the balustrade flanks steps at right-angles to the main part of the bridge, down to a short quay leading to what is now the Museo Diocesano on the near side of the Bridge of Sighs. The right-hand half is taken up with the cliff-like stone bulk of the Palazzo Ducale (Doge’s Palace), with selective indications of aspects of its complex, multi-storey fenestration and heavy rustication.
Folios 76 verso–77 recto (D32412–D32413) show the Bridge of Sighs from below, in what is perhaps the first drawing Turner made in Venice on this visit; see under D32412 for further discussion. Compare also, among several studies in the contemporary Venice; Passau to Würzburg sketchbook, Tate D31310 and D31388 (Turner Bequest CCCX 18, 57), which may be among the last.

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, opposite p.1033.
2
Undated MS note by Bell (died 1966) in copy of Finberg 1909, Prints and Drawings Room, Tate Britain, II, p.1033.
3
Finberg 1930, p.171.

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