Joseph Mallord William Turner

The Grand Canal, Venice, near the Accademia, with Santa Maria della Salute in the Distance


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Gouache, graphite and watercolour on paper
Support: 191 × 282 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCCXVII 25

Catalogue entry

From the south side of the south-western bend of the Grand Canal, looking east, the Palazzo Civran Badoer Barozzi appears at the far left, followed by the opening of the Campo San Vidal, with the campanile of the church of the same dedication at the far end. The Ponte dell’Accademia now springs from this point. Next come the Palazzi Cavalli-Franchetti and Barbaro before the straight run down to the domes of Santa Maria della Salute on the south side. On the right appears to be the Accademia (Santa Maria della Carità), with the Palazzo Brandolin Rota and others beyond.
Finberg later annotated his basic 1909 Inventory entry (‘The Grand Canal’): ‘Little bit of P. Giustinian Lolin on left, then S. Vitale, with P. Cavallo beyond, Salute in dist. in centre. cf CCCXV.15’.1 In noting the last point he recognised effectively the same view, albeit made independently, as in a slightly larger and less detailed watercolour on white paper in the 1840 Grand Canal and Giudecca sketchbook (Tate D32131; Turner Bequest CCCXV 15).2 There is some question, as discussed in the Introduction to this subsection, as to whether the present variant dates from the same year or Turner’s second visit to Venice, in 1833. He had made a detailed pencil drawing from nearby in the 1819 Milan to Venice sketchbook (Tate D14448–D14449; Turner Bequest CLXXV 69a–70).
Without further elaboration, in 1881 John Ruskin categorised this sheet among twenty-five Turner Bequest subjects ‘chiefly in Venice. Late time, extravagant, and showing some of the painter’s worst and final faults; but also, some of his peculiar gifts in a supreme degree.’3
Undated MS note by Finberg (died 1939) in interleaved copy of Finberg 1909, Prints and Drawings Room, Tate Britain, II, opposite p.1025.
See also Warrell 2003, pp.161, 164.
Cook and Wedderburn 1904, p.384.
Technical notes:
As discussed in the Introduction to this subsection, in the context of Turner’s 1833 Continental tour including Venice, Ian Warrell has noted his use of grey paper by Bally, Ellen and Steart,1 ‘from at least four different batches’, and it is ‘possible’ that Tate D32205–D32210 (Turner Bequest CCCXVII 20–25), including the present subject, relate to that occasion,2 or 1840, when similar paper was used extensively (see Tate D32180–D32181, D32183–D32184, D32200–D32201, D32203–D32204, D32212, D32215, D32217, D33883; Turner Bequest CCCXVII 1, 2, 4, 5, 15, 16, 18, 19, 27–30, 32, CCCXLI 183).3
See 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, pp.105–7 under no.59.
‘Appendix: The papers used for Turner’s Venetian Watercolours’ in Warrell 2003, p.258; the six works are individually dated ‘1833 or 1840’ elsewhere in the book; see also pp.21, 90.
See ibid., p.259, section 8.

Matthew Imms
September 2018

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