Joseph Mallord William Turner

The Interior of a Theatre, Venice


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In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Gouache and watercolour on paper
Support: 224 × 293 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCCXVIII 18

Technique and condition

This work by Turner is a watercolour and gouache painted sketch on a poor quality brown wove paper. Titled Interior of a Theatre this work appears to be a quick, impression that is made up with a combination of both fluid and dry scratchy marks. The brush strokes seem quite hurried and loose, giving a very sketchy feel to this work.

The overall condition of this work is not good. Having been exposed at some point to significant moisture, there are some quite noticeable dark tide lines over large areas of the support, particularly in the lower half. These are quite disfiguring and certainly confuse the image. The lead white pigment has also degraded having significantly oxidised leaving only a suggestion that it was once white. In some areas the white has disappeared completely leaving a darkish mark with a darker tide line. The only 'white' that remains, perhaps where the paint was applied thicker, appears now as only a grainy wash.

Jo Gracey
April 2001

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