Joseph Mallord William Turner

The Palazzo Ducale (Doge’s Palace) and New Prisons, Venice, from the Bacino, with the Bridge of Sighs beyond the Ponte della Paglia

1840

In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Graphite on paper
Dimensions
Support: 126 × 198 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D31306
Turner Bequest CCCX 15 a

Catalogue entry

This page and folios 16 recto opposite, 17 recto, 18 recto and 57 recto (D31307, D31309–D31310, D31388) focus on the Bridge of Sighs,1 and are perhaps the last pencil drawings Turner made in Venice. This and D31307 show similar, rapidly observed prospects north from the Bacino, centred on the Ponte della Paglia over the entrance to the Rio del Palazzo, with the elevated Bridge of Sighs beyond, linking the Palazzo Ducale (Doge’s Palace) on the left to the New Prisons on the right. The furthest building on the right is the Palazzo Dandolo (Hotel Daniele) on the Riva degli Schiavoni.
The view is a reprise of that in Turner’s painting Venice, the Bridge of Sighs (Tate N00527),2 which he had shown at the 1840 Royal Academy exhibition, shortly before this visit to the city. A view of the bridge in the contemporary Rotterdam to Venice sketchbook (Tate D32412–D32413; Turner Bequest CCCXX 76a–77) may be the first pencil drawing Turner made in Venice during this last visit.
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

1
See Finberg 1930, p.172.
2
Martin Butlin and Evelyn Joll, The Paintings of J.M.W. Turner, revised ed., New Haven and London 1984, p.235 no.383, pl.386 (colour).

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