Joseph Mallord William Turner

The Entrance to the Grand Canal, Venice, with the Porch of the Dogana, and the Church of San Giorgio Maggiore across the Bacino


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 123 × 173 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCCXIII 53

Catalogue entry

The view was drawn with the page turned horizontally. Finberg later annotated his vague 1909 Inventory entry (‘View on canal’): ‘2 sketches from Gd. Canal looking twds Dogana’.1 The Turner scholar C.F. Bell marked another copy: ‘Entrance to Grand Canal with East detail of Dogana’.2 The viewpoint is about level with Santa Maria della Salute (out of sight on the right), looking east-south-east to the slender campanile and dome of San Giorgio Maggiore across the Bacino.
The heavily articulated façade in the left foreground appears to be the Palazzo Treves de Bonfili, perhaps making the viewpoint a little further west off the Palazzo Badoer Tiepolo (now the Westin Europa & Regina Hotel), while the group beyond includes the Palazzo Giustinian, then the Hotel Europa, where Turner was staying (see the parallel subsection of views in and around the building). The isolated view of the Dogana inserted above is a continuation to the right; compare a sketch of the overall scene in the 1819 Milan to Venice book (Tate D14434; Turner Bequest CLXXV 62a).
The dome at the bottom left is continued upwards from the campanile of the Madonna dell’Orto church in the unrelated horizontal view on folio 52 verso opposite (D31894).
There is a view across to the Salute from about this point on folio 58 recto (D31904), and prospects towards San Giorgio from similar viewpoints on folios 59 verso and 61 recto (D31907, D31910).
Undated MS note by Finberg (died 1939) in interleaved copy of Finberg 1909, Prints and Drawings Room, Tate Britain, II, p.1011.
Undated MS note by Bell (died 1966) in copy of Finberg 1909, Prints and Drawings Room, Tate Britain, II, p.1011.
Technical notes:
There is scattered brown staining at the centre left, offset to or from folio 52 verso opposite (D31893).

Matthew Imms
September 2018

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