Joseph Mallord William Turner

The Canale della Giudecca, Venice, with Boats Moored off the Dogana, and the Campanile of San Marco (St Mark’s) and Palazzo Ducale (Doge’s Palace) Beyond


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Watercolour on paper
Support: 247 × 308 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCCXVI 35

Catalogue entry

While the alignment of the campanile of San Marco (St Mark’s) left of the porch of the Dogana implies a viewpoint south of Santa Maria della Salute (out of sight to the left), similar to that of Tate D32170 (CCCXVI 33), the juxtaposition of the domes of St Mark’s and the Palazzo Ducale (Ducal Palace) indicate a viewpoint considerably further east on the Bacino, south of the Piazzetta; meanwhile, the dome and campanile on the right seem to belong to San Giorgio Maggiore, on the south-east side of the Bacino, rather than any of the churches along the Riva degli Schiavoni.
These elements suggest a notional and extremely laterally compressed panorama from the eastern end of the Canale della Giudecca, with the Dogana and San Giorgio brought in to frame the composition; the individual elements are impossible to view so closely aligned in reality; compare the colour study D32145 (CCCXVI 8) and the oil painting of the Ducal Palace, Dogano, with part of San Georgio, Venice, exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1841 (Allen Memorial Art Museum, Oberlin College, Ohio).1
At any event, Ian Warrell has noted that ‘Turner’s fondness for these moorings at the eastern end of the Giudecca canal is readily apparent’ from various contemporary watercolours (see also D32147, D32163, D32170, D32174; CCCXVI 10, 26, 33, 37), ‘some of his most delicate studies of Venice, faintly developed in thinly coloured washes’, in this instance ‘to replicate the blinding glare of morning’.2 Compare in particular D32147,3 a more straightforwardly topographical view from a similar point.
Martin Butlin and Evelyn Joll, The Paintings of J.M.W. Turner, revised ed., New Haven and London 1984, pp.240–1 no.390, pl.394 (colour).
Warrell 2003, p.181.
See also Wilton 1975, p.147.
Technical notes:
There is no underlying pencil, the ‘drawing’ being accomplished with fine linear strokes of watercolour in places. Andrew Wilton has observed that the ‘greater part of the composition is suggested with barely defined washes of pale colour; Turner relied on a few rapid touches of blue, ochre and grey, with some unmixed red, to provide a minimum of guidance for the eye.’1
This is one of numerous 1840 Venice works Ian Warrell has noted as on sheets of ‘white paper produced [under the name] Charles Ansell,2 each measuring around 24 x 30 cm, several watermarked with the date “1828”’:3 Tate D32138–D32139, D32141–D32143, D32145–D32147, D32154–D32163, D32167–D32168, D32170–D32177, D35980, D36190 (Turner Bequest CCCXVI 1, 2, 4–6, 8–10, 17–26, 30, 31, 33–40, CCCLXIV 137, 332). Warrell has also observed that The Doge’s Palace and Piazzetta, Venice (National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin)4 and Venice: The New Moon (currently untraced)5 ‘may belong to this group’.6
Ibid., pp.147–8; see also Stainton 1985, p.63.
Albeit Peter Bower, Turner’s Later Papers: A Study of the Manufacture, Selection and Use of his Drawing Papers 1820–1851, exhibition catalogue, Tate Gallery, London 1999, p.81, notes that the Muggeridge family had taken over after 1820, still using the ‘C Ansell’ watermark.
‘Appendix: The papers used for Turner’s Venetian Watercolours’ (1840, section 2) in Warrell 2003, p.259.
Andrew Wilton, J.M.W. Turner: His Life and Work, Fribourg 1979, p.463 no.1356, reproduced.
Ibid., p.464 no.1365.
Warrell 2003, p.259.

Matthew Imms
July 2018

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