Joseph Mallord William Turner

The Grand Canal, Venice, with the Fondaco dei Tedeschi and Rialto Bridge in the Distance; Views on the Grand Canal near San Simeone Piccolo


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 83 a

Catalogue entry

The buildings receding steeply on the right-hand third of the page are in the foreground of the view south to the Rialto Bridge on the Grand Canal which continues across the full width of folio 84 recto opposite (D14476). The nearest feature is one of two matching arched doorways to the Palazzo Michiel del Brusà, with its prominent keystone in the form of a sculpted head, shown here in profile; immediately beyond is a glimpse of the Palazzo Smith Mangilli Valmarana.1
Finberg subsequently annotated his detailed 1909 Inventory entry (‘View on the Grand Canal; S. Bartolomeo and the Campanile (with scaffolding on top) in distance, also “Entrance to the G. Canal” and “Sa. Lucia.”’), bracketing ‘83a’ with ‘84’, with the former as: ‘(contn) on left) with P. Mangilli-Valmarana & To del Leonbianco in foreground. With 2 smaller sketches: one of “Entrance to the G. Canal” from Mestre, with “Sta Lucia” on left, Ponte della Croce on r., & S. Simeone Picco beyond near centre; the other looking twds Mestre from end of G. Canal’.2 In another copy he wrote: ‘from Erberia’ and ‘also Sacca della [...] lkg twds Mestre’.3 Regarding the present page, the Turner scholar C.F. Bell marked another copy: ‘3 sketches | 2 of the [?Ch] W [?end] of Grand Canal’.4
There are two smaller sketches, made with page turned vertically, in the outer half, made at the north-western entrance to the Grand Canal. The one nearest the centre apparently shows a view north-west to the mainland from the vicinity of the entrance to the Rio Nuovo, south-west of the later railway station. The station bears the name of the church of Santa Lucia, formerly on the site, and marked on the left of Turner’s second view, from a similar vantage point, now looking north-east to the prominent dome of San Simeone Piccolo, and the campanile of San Geremia beyond. Finberg noted that along with a few others on subsequently foliated pages, these smaller sketches ‘complete Turner’s studies of this part of Venice’.5
Turner would depict the large dome of San Simeone Piccolo in an evocative but inaccurate watercolour of 1840 (Tate D32134; Turner Bequest CCCXV 8); Ian Warrell has suggested it was probably ‘executed from memory’ without references to this and other 1819 pencil sketches. 6 For other drawings made in the vicinity and an overview of Turner’s coverage of Venice, see the sketchbook’s Introduction.
See Finberg 1930, p.49.
Undated MS note by A.J. Finberg (died 1939) in interleaved copy of Finberg 1909, Tate Britain Prints and Drawings Room, I, opposite p.515.
Undated MS note by Finberg in copy of Finberg 1909, Tate Britain Prints and Drawings Room, I, p.515.
Undated MS note by C.F. Bell (died 1966) in copy of Finberg 1909, Tate Britain Prints and Drawings Room, I, p.515.
Finberg 1930, p.53.
See Warrell 2003, pp.150, 264 note 3.

Matthew Imms
March 2017

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