Joseph Mallord William Turner

The Grand Canal, Venice, with the Rialto Bridge from the North


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 126 × 198 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCCX 14 a

Catalogue entry

This is one of a short sequence of sketches made while travelling south-east along the Grand Canal between the Canale di Cannaregio and the Rialto Bridge (folios 12 verso–15 recto; D31300–D31305). From the east side of the canal, the view is south towards the sharp bend to the right at the bridge, with the Palazzo dei Camerlenghi, Fabbriche Vecchie and Fabbriche Nuove loosely outlined towards the right. Various palaces line the left-hand side with occasional characteristic details; the viewpoint is about level with the Ca’ da Mosto, across from the Fabbriche Nuove. At the centre, left of the bridge, is the Fondaco dei Tedeschi with the campanile of San Bartolomeo to its right (its upper stages shown about twice as tall as in reality), and the more distant spire of the campanile of San Marco (St Mark’s) with the horizontal bands of scaffolding common to Turner’s 1840 depictions; see the tour Introduction.
A watercolour study in the contemporary Grand Canal and Giudecca sketchbook (Tate D32119; Turner Bequest CCCXV 3) shows the same prospect, apparently from slightly further south, and the entry for that page notes various earlier treatments. Folio 15 recto opposite (D31305) shows a loosely rendered close-up of the bridge.
As noted in the sketchbook’s Introduction, the Venice views on its early pages are intermingled with German sketches from Turner’s return journey.

Matthew Imms
September 2018

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