Joseph Mallord William Turner

The Dogana, Venice, with the Campanile of San Marco (St Mark’s) Beyond, from the Canale della Giudecca


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite and watercolour on paper
Support: 246 × 307 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCCXVI 10

Catalogue entry

The view is north-east from the Canale della Giudecca south of the Seminario Patriarcale, seen at the left-hand edge; looking past the porch of the Dogana, aligned with the campanile of San Marco (St Mark’s) beyond, the domes of the Basilica are to their right. The south front of the long, low Dogana is laterally compressed. The Zecca (mint) and Libreria Sansoviniana are loosely washed in as a single mass at the centre, with the Palazzo Ducale (Doge’s Palace) to their right barely articulated except for a few vertical pencil strokes summarily indicating the building’s Molo arcade, while the Riva degli Schiavoni waterfront across the Bacino to the right fades out beyond the masts of moored boats; see the technical notes below for further discussion.
The Turner scholar C.F. Bell annotated Finberg’s 1909 Inventory entry (‘The Giudecca, with the Dogana and Campanile beyond. Cf. Oil painting of “Venice from the Giudecca,” R.A., 1840’): ‘no this is taken from due south of the tower of the Dogana’.1 Finberg meant Venice, from the Canale della Giudecca, Chiesa di S. Maria della Salute, &c., exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1840 (Victoria and Albert Museum, London; engraved 1859–61: Tate impression T06361).2 The present view corresponds quite closely to the central section of the painting, which is dominated by the brilliant white forms of the Salute, out of sight here to the left. If there was any conscious link in Turner’s mind, it would have been of a retrospective character, as the painting had been shown a few months before the present tour.
Ian Warrell has noted ‘Turner’s fondness for these moorings at the eastern end of the Giudecca canal’, linking this to some of the other colour studies grouped here (Tate D32163, D32170, D32172, D32174; Turner Bequest CCCXVI 26, 33, 35, 37).3
Undated MS note by Bell (died 1966) in copy of Finberg 1909, Prints and Drawings Room, Tate Britain, II, p.1018.
Martin Butlin and Evelyn Joll, The Paintings of J.M.W. Turner, revised ed., New Haven and London 1984, pp.235–6 no.384, pl.387 (colour).
Warrell 2003, p.181.
Technical notes:
Andrew Wilton has discussed the handling of this sheet in some detail, comparing it with Tate D32175 (Turner Bequest CCCXVI 38), another Bacino view:
Turner reduces his colour here to a minimum of pale pink, yellow, green and blue, dissolving forms almost completely in vaporous light. Definition is provided by an equally slight pencil outline; but it is difficult to determine whether pencil or colour was applied first. Each is dependent on the other in the representation of the view and would be incomprehensible alone. See, for instance, [Tate D32135 (Turner Bequest CCCXV 19), from the contemporary Grand Canal and Giudecca sketchbook], where pencil has been added to a watercolour sketch in the interest of sharper definition of a few details.1
Wilton 1975, p.147.
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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