Joseph Mallord William Turner

The Grand Canal, Venice, with the Rialto Bridge from near the Albergo Leon Bianco (Palazzo Cavalli); a Corner of the Leon Bianco


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 49

Catalogue entry

Inverted relative to the sketchbook’s foliation, the right-hand half of the page shows a continuation of the full-page view on folio 48 verso opposite (D14406). Finberg subsequently annotated his 1909 Inventory entry (‘Continuation of previous drawing [The Rialto, with the east side of the Grand Canal]; also “The Inn of Great Britain, Albergo.”’): ‘Contin- of buildings on left side. (P. Rinaldi, Cerroni & Tollotti.) also anr. sketch of bldgs. with balconies on right side – “The Inn of Great Britain. Albero (sic!) [‘Auberg’ inserted above] | Is this a study for the Farnley dg of Rialto. No. See pp.73a & 74. This is the Hakewill dg view’.1 The Turner scholar C.F. Bell annotated another copy: ‘towards the Riva del Vin’.2
The view is north-west along the north side of the Grand Canal at the Fondamenta del Vin, just short of the Rialto Bridge, shown in full on the opposite page. The Rinaldi, with the Rio Terà San Silvestro on its near side, has been considerably altered and made taller, obscuring the top of the campanile of San Giovanni Elemosinario from this angle. As Finberg noted in 1930: ‘The house next to the Rinaldi palace has now had a storey added to it, but the tall building beyond it with the wooden attics on its roofs, once the Cerroni palace I believe, and the Tol[l]otti, its neighbour, are very little altered today’.3 See under D14406 for other aspects of the scene and related views.4
The slight, narrow study the other way up at the outer edge apparently shows the east end of the canal frontage of the Palazzo Cavalli (or Corner Martinengo Ravà), then the Albergo Leon Bianco, where Turner was staying on this first visit to Venice;5 it is now a civic building. Another sketchbook Turner carried with him on this tour includes travel notes by James Hakewill (1778–1843), with whom he had been collaborating on the Picturesque Tour of Italy (published in 1820); see Nicola Moorby’s Introduction to the Route to Rome book (Tate; Turner Bequest CLXXI). Before listing various places and pictures to see, Hakewill noted: ‘Venice – Go to the Leone Bianco | on the grand Canal’ (Tate D13903; Turner Bequest CLXXI 24). The plain windows on its ground floor and the distinctive corbels at its corner remain recognisable, although the enclosed, projecting balcony structure above (likely wooden) has since been removed, revealing or replaced by an arched window and balcony matching the one to its right.6 A similar feature remains in place just around the corner on the second floor.

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.513.
Undated MS note by C.F. Bell (died 1966) in copy of Finberg 1909, Tate Britain Prints and Drawings Room, I, p.513.
Finberg 1930, p.33.
See also Wilton 1979, p.383 under no.718, relating this drawing to a watercolour showing a slightly different view.
See Warrell 2003, pp.16, 17, and fig.4, where the palazzo is captioned as the hotel in Dionisio Moretti’s 1828 engraving.
Compare its earlier state in ibid., fig.4.
See Finberg 1930, p.20 for the Italian form.

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