Joseph Mallord William Turner

The Grand Canal, Venice, with the Rialto Bridge and the Palazzo dei Camerlenghi


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 77 a

Catalogue entry

The drawing is inverted relative to the sketchbook’s foliation. Finberg subsequently annotated his 1909 Inventory entry (‘Ponte di Rialto’): ‘Rialto from below stream, Camerlenghi on right, with arches of Fondaco dei Tedeschi on left, with P. Grimani in distance under arch of Rialto’.1 The Turner scholar C.F. Bell annotated another copy: ‘& Palazzo dei Camerlenghi from near the Fondaco dei Tedeschi’.2
The view is south-west to the Rialto Bridge with the Palazzo dei Camerlenghi on the bend to the right and the front of the Fondaco dei Tedeschi receding steeply on the left, seen from the entrance to the Rio del Fontego dei Tedeschi. Finberg noted that the drawing ‘appears to have been made from a boat, for we get a glimpse of the Grimani palace and the buildings on the Riva del Carbon under the arch of the bridge. ... By occasionally shifting his position while making the sketch Turner has managed to weave the buildings on the two sides of the Rialto and those seen under its arch into a charming pattern’.3
Ian Warrell has noted this page and folio 82 verso (D14473) as sources for the nocturnal vignette watercolour Venice (The Rialto – Moonlight) of about 1830–2 (Tate D27713; Turner Bequest CCLXXX 196;4 see also D27625; CCLXXX 108),5 engraved for Samuel Rogers’s Poems of 1834 (Tate impression: T06645). Of the two sketches in this book, the alignment of buildings is closer in the other, made from slightly further north, although the present page shows the bridge in more detail.
For other drawings made in the vicinity and an overview of Turner’s coverage of Venice, see the sketchbook’s Introduction.

Matthew Imms
March 2017

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 C.F. Bell (died 1966) in copy of Finberg 1909, Tate Britain Prints and Drawings Room, I, p.515.
Finberg 1930, p.49.
Andrew Wilton, J.M.W. Turner: His Life and Work, Fribourg 1979, p.442 no.1190, reproduced.
See Warrell 2003, p.263 note 43.

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