Joseph Mallord William Turner

The Dogana di Mare, Venice, with San Giorgio Maggiore Beyond, from the Entrance to the Grand Canal


Not on display

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 112 × 185 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CLXXV 62 a

Catalogue entry

Finberg subsequently annotated his 1909 Inventory entry (‘Looking towards the canale di S. Marco, with the Dogana on the right’): ‘Looking from the Grand Canal twds S. Giorgio, with Dogana on the right, with P. Cavelli on left. (View from Traghetto S. Vitale.)’.1 In another copy he wrote: ‘(my view, from Gd. Hotel)’.2 The Turner scholar C.F. Bell a further copy: ‘from the middle of the Grand Canal opposite the steps of the Salute’.3 Inverted relative to the sketchbook’s foliation, the view is east-south-east across the entrance of the canal, close to the north side and positioned opposite the porch of Santa Maria Salute, outside the Palazzo Contarini Fasan; the building at the far left, with prominent ground- and first-floor arches and a low loggia beyond, is the Palazzo Giustinian Michiel Alvise.4 To the right is the Dogana, with the dome and campanile of San Giorgio Maggiore at the centre across the Bacino, looking deceptively close.
The degree of detail varies across the page, as Turner is unusually also concerned here, among more straightforward architectural records, with passing pictorial effects of light and reflection. As Finberg described it: ‘The sun in the west is shining full on S. Giorgio and the palaces on our left, while the buildings of the Dogana are in shadow. The light and shade are indicated in the slightest way, but what is drawn is eked out with various queer little scribbled remarks’5 which Finberg transcribed and interpreted, although his cryptic reading ‘the Red of the Pear excepting the Flag’,6 possibly keyed to an ‘x’ marked on San Giorgio’s red brick tower, is uncertain.
For other drawings made in the vicinity and an overview of Turner’s coverage of Venice, see the sketchbook’s Introduction.
Undated MS note by A.J. Finberg (died 1939) in interleaved copy of Finberg 1909, Tate Britain Prints and Drawings Room, I, opposite p.514.
Undated MS note by Finberg in copy of Finberg 1909, Tate Britain Prints and Drawings Room, I, p.514.
Undated MS note by C.F. Bell (died 1966) in copy of Finberg 1909, Tate Britain Prints and Drawings Room, I, p.514.
See Finberg 1930, p.41.
Finberg 1930, pp.41–2.
Ibid., pp.42, 165.
Technical notes:
There is a blob of what appears to be orange paint at the bottom right, a little of which is offset onto folio 63 recto opposite (D14435).

Matthew Imms
March 2017

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