Joseph Mallord William Turner

The Grand Canal, Venice, from under the Rialto Bridge, Looking towards the Palazzo Grimani


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 81

Catalogue entry

Inverted relative to the sketchbook’s foliation, the drawing continues across folio 80 verso opposite (D14469). When this leaf was rebound and stamped after being displayed in the nineteenth century, Finberg’s 1909 Inventory sequence, clear from his descriptive titles for the recto and verso, was disrupted. The present page was, by the implication of an ‘a’ suffix in his Inventory, the verso in his estimation, but it has since been bound as the recto and stamped as ‘81’; it was evidently, by its subject and more light-affected condition, the exhibited side. For a discussion of the twelve leaves removed and restored in this way, see the technical notes in the sketchbook’s Introduction.
The verso, D14471, is marked ‘Chisa St Apostoli’ by Turner, thus corresponding with Finberg’s Inventory entry ‘80a | 81. View on the Grand Canal near the “Chiesa SS. Apostoli”. Page 81 is reverse of Exhibited drawing, No.602i, N.G.’, he subsequently annotated the printed text, crossing out the title and ‘reverse of’, indicating that this side was the one exhibited, corresponding to his entry for ‘81a’, ‘The fruit market. Exhibited drawing, No.602i, N.G.’, which he conversely altered by inserting ‘(Reverse of)’ before ‘Exhibited’.1 In the same copy he made a fresh note in an attempt at clarification, bracketing ‘80a’ and ‘81’: ‘V. from Rialto looking twds P. Grimani. – Riva del Vino on right, with Cerroni & Tollotti Palaces on right, and Manin, Bembo, Riva del Carbon, & Loredan, Farsetti on left, with Grimani Palace in distance’.2
The continuous view here and on D14469 is south-west along the Grand Canal from directly under the single arch of the Rialto Bridge, of which there are faint, arcing indications at the top corners. In the foreground is the Riva del Ferro; the building with arched windows and shutters remains at the entrance to the Calle Ceria. At the centre of the page, bisected by a tall mast, is the classical Palazzo Dolfin-Manin, with the adjoining Gothic Palazzo Bembo beyond. Side by side further on are the two regular façades of the Ca’ Loredan and Ca’ Farsetti, below the bulk of the east side of the Palazzo Grimani di San Luca, the front of which is at the gutter. At the top left is a separate study of a figure encumbered with various bulky items, presumably observed at the scene.
Undated MS note by A.J. Finberg (died 1939) in interleaved copy of Finberg 1909, Tate Britain Prints and Drawings Room, I, p.515.
Ibid., opposite p.515.
Finberg 1930, p.49.
Martin Butlin and Evelyn Joll, The Paintings of J.M.W. Turner, revised ed., New Haven and London 1984, p.152 no.245, pl.248.
See ibid., p.152.
Ibid., pp.137–8 no.228, pl.231 (colour).
Andrew Wilton, J.M.W. Turner: His Life and Work, Fribourg 1979, p.383 no.725, pl.160.
See ibid., Barbara Dawson, Turner in the National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin 1988, p.105, Warrell 2003, pp.101, 263 note 8, and Niamh Mac Nally in Anne Hodge and Mac Nally, The Works of J.M.W. Turner at the National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin 2012, pp.64, 66.
Wilton 1979, p.383 no.718, pl.156.

Matthew Imms
March 2017

MS note by Finberg in interleaved copy of Finberg 1909, Tate Britain Prints and Drawings Room, I, p.515.

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