The drawing was made with the page turned horizontally. Finberg later annotated his 1909 Inventory entry (‘Campo de’ S.S. Giovanni e Paolo’), altering the first two words to ‘Church of’ and adding ‘with Colleoni statue & Scuola di S. Marco’.1 The Turner scholar C.F. Bell marked another copy: ‘looking East’.2 Verrocchio’s Renaissance bronze equestrian sculpture of Bartolomeo Colleoni is shown towards the right on its high pedestal in the square beside the imposing church, not far east of the Rialto. To the left of the Gothic west front (in unfaced brick with stone dressings) are the semi-circular gables above the intricate marble Renaissance façade of the Scuola Grande di San Marco, now a hospital.
Turner’s sketch is too slight to register the contrasting materials or the complexities of the decoration; unusually, he has used diagonal hatching to suggest shadow at the centre. In the foreground are boats on the Rio dei Mendicanti, running north-north-east to the left, with a further slight study of a boat or boats inverted at the bottom left. There is another such study just across the gutter on folio 50 recto opposite (D31888), where the main subject appears to be the interior of the church.
Finberg used the present page as an example of the ‘Changed character of sketches’ from what he regarded as the more diligent work of Turner’s first visit to Venice in 1819, with their ‘clear-cut, definite and thoughtful statements’ replaced by ‘little more than careless outlines with the details ignored or treated impatiently’: ‘that of SS. Giovanni e Paolo (p. 49a) has more substance, but the treatment of the Colleoni statue is not very satisfactory.’3 See also his comments on the recto (D31886) and folio 6 verso (D31802).
There is some abrasion and staining along the gutter at the top, which has bled through from the recto (D31886).