Joseph Mallord William Turner

The Grand Canal, with the Rialto Bridge Flanked by the Fondaco dei Tedeschi and the Palazzo dei Camerlenghi, Venice; Studies of Boats; ?a Sculptural Group or Coat of Arms

1819

Not on display

Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Graphite on paper
Dimensions
Support: 112 × 185 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D14474
Turner Bequest CLXXV 83

Catalogue entry

The Turner scholar C.F. Bell annotated Finberg’s 1909 Inventory entry (‘View on the Grand Canal, with the Ponte di Rialto; the dome of S. Bartolomeo in distance’), crossing out the second half of the title and writing: ‘the Camerlenghi & Fondaco dei Tedeschi’.1
Inverted relative to the sketchbook’s foliation, the main drawing is a continuation from the view of the Rialto Bridge and its setting on the Grand Canal to the south across the whole of folio 82 verso opposite (D14473), under which comparable views are discussed.2 On the present page the arcaded façade of the Fondaco dei Tedeschi is towards the gutter, with a lightly indicated façade immediately to its left, where the Palazzo Ruzzini now stands, above the figure on the gondola; to the left again is the Palazzo Civran. For other drawings made in the vicinity and an overview of Turner’s coverage of Venice, see the sketchbook’s Introduction.
At the top centre is an incidental detail of elaborately bows or sterns. With the page turned vertically, in the outer half is what appears to be a sculptural or relief group, with figures annotated with indications of colour around a square blank area which may be a monument, altar, doorway or plaque, perhaps with a trophy of arms or other attributes above. Its significance is as yet undetermined, but it appears to have been drawn in the space left beside the canal view, and was perhaps recorded elsewhere in Venice later on. See under folio 40 verso (D14390) for Turner’s studies of artworks in Venice.

Matthew Imms
March 2017

1
Undated MS note by C.F. Bell (died 1966) in copy of Finberg 1909, Tate Britain Prints and Drawings Room, I, p.515.
2
See Finberg 1930, p.49, and Andrews 1980, p.12.

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