Joseph Mallord William Turner

The Dogana and Santa Maria della Salute, Venice, across the Grand Canal from the Hotel Europa (Palazzo Giustinian) in the Rain


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Chalk and graphite on paper
Support: 138 × 191 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCCXLI 183

Catalogue entry

The Turner scholar C.F. Bell annotated Finberg’s 1909 Inventory entry (‘The Dogana and Salute, Venice): ‘rain falling’.1 There are various drawings and watercolours associated with Turner’s 1840 visit which show rainy or stormy conditions; see the tour Introduction.
This slight sketch of a very familiar scene seems to have been made for the sake of catching the transient effect. The view is south across the Grand Canal to the silhouetted porch of the Dogana facing the Bacino towards the left, with the Zitelle church on the Isola della Giudecca in the distance apparently lightly marked. The long north front of the Dogana has been somewhat compressed. The profile of the Seminario Patriarcale rises at the centre, with the domes of the church of Santa Maria della Salute to the south-west, white chalk evoking their glow against the leaden sky suggested by the bare grey of the paper and the slanting pencil strokes of the rain.
The waterside viewpoint is outside the Hotel Europa (the Palazzo Giustinian), where Turner was staying; see the Introduction to this subsection. Compare detailed pencil drawings of the Dogana and Salute from this spot in the 1819 Milan to Venice sketchbook (Tate D14389, D14417; Turner Bequest CLXXV 40, 54). Compare also the larger colour study of the scene at twilight from the same spot (Tate D32166; Turner Bequest CCCXVI 29) in the present grouping, along with night views on brown paper including D32232 and D32248 (CCCXVIII 13, 29).
There is an unrelated drawing of figures in a landscape on the verso (D33884; Turner Bequest CCCXLI 183v).
Undated MS note by Bell (died 1966) in copy of Finberg 1909, Prints and Drawings Room, Tate Britain, II, p.1072.
Technical notes:
The sheet is browned and creased at the left, with scattered pale brown staining elsewhere.
This is one of numerous 1840 Venice works Ian Warrell has noted as being on ‘Bally, Ellen and Steart grey paper’ which Turner had also used on his Continental tour of 1833, including Venice, and therefore ‘the dating of some of these sheets in uncertain’ (see in particular Tate D32205–D32210; Turner Bequest CCCXVII 20–25); the following ‘seem to arise from the later visit’:1 Tate D32180–D32181, D32183–D32184, D32200–D32201, D32203–D32204, D32212, D32215, D32217 (Turner Bequest CCCXVII 1, 2, 4, 5, 15, 16, 18, 19, 27–30, 32); see also Venice: San Giorgio Maggiore and the Zitelle from the Giudecca (currently untraced)2 and The Doge’s Palace from the Bacino (private collection),3 and two further ‘half-size sheets’:4 the present work, and Shipping with Buildings, ?Venice (Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge).5

Matthew Imms
September 2018

‘Appendix: The papers used for Turner’s Venetian Watercolours’ (1840, section 8) in Warrell 2003, p.259.
Andrew Wilton, J.M.W. Turner: His Life and Work, Fribourg 1979, p.464 no.1367, reproduced.
Not in ibid.; Warrell 2003, fig.233 (colour).
Warrell 2003, p.259.
Andrew Wilton, J.M.W. Turner: His Life and Work, Fribourg 1979, p.423 no.1037, reproduced.

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