Joseph Mallord William Turner

The Campanile of San Girolamo, Venice; Waterfront Buildings; a Study of Moored Boats


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 123 × 173 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCCXIII 47 a

Catalogue entry

The various small sketches here were made with the page turned horizontally and also inverted relative to the sketchbook’s foliation. Finberg later annotated his 1909 Inventory entry (‘Buildings from canal – “St. Girolamo,” and “Fishing boats red and W. sails.”’): ‘Rio di S. Girolamo – E. of Cannaregio | Church is now a factory’.1
The Cannaregio church of San Girolamo, on the Rio di San Girolamo,2 had been suppressed in 1807, and between 1840 (the year of Turner’s drawing) and 1855 was used as a factory mill, with a chimney in the campanile; the tower was later demolished, but the church reopened in 1952.3 The exact viewpoint here is uncertain, as the substantial church itself is not shown among surrounding roofs. There are sketches of nearby subjects in this relatively remote part of the city on folios 48 verso and 52 verso (D31885, D31893).
Below is a typical study of moored sailing boats, annotated with the colours of a fishing boat’s sail, while the studies at right-angles on the left show unidentified canalside or waterfront buildings. There are various sketches of smaller boats on folio 48 recto opposite (D31884).

Matthew Imms
September 2018

Undated MS note by Finberg (died 1939) in interleaved copy of Finberg 1909, Prints and Drawings Room, Tate Britain, II, opposite p.1011.
See Finberg 1930, p.171.
See Jeff Cotton, ‘San Girolamo’, The Churches of Venice, accessed 22 June 2018,

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