Joseph Mallord William Turner

The Palazzo Ducale (Doge’s Palace) and Santa Maria della Salute, Venice, from the Bacino

?1840

In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Graphite and watercolour on paper
Dimensions
Support: 185 × 230 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D34865
Turner Bequest CCCXLIV 374v

Catalogue entry

Despite recognising the subject as the ‘Ducal Palace and Salute, Venice’, Finberg placed this work in a large grouping of ‘Miscellaneous: black and white’ drawings on ‘White Paper’ in his 1909 Inventory,1 rather than within the main section of ‘Venice: Miscellaneous’ studies on ‘White paper, &c.’ (Turner Bequest CCCXVI),2 presumably on account of its slightness. There is a nearby view on the recto (D43231).
Close inspection though the heavy staining and rubbing reveals a loosely rendered view from the Bacino, looking towards the south-east corner of the Palazzo Ducale (Doge’s Palace) on the right, with the campanile of San Marco (St Mark’s) aligned above it, suggesting a viewpoint quite a long way east off the Riva degli Schiavoni, about level with the Pietà church. The church of Santa Maria della Salute is shown on the left, south of the entrance to the Grand Canal, roughly indicated on two scales. The drawing was perhaps made from memory or as an ad hoc compositional study.
This is among the most familiar views in Venice, and Turner made many more detailed drawings and watercolours from the Bacino and the waterways around it (gathered in a parallel subsection of watercolour studies); compare for example the colour study on grey paper showing the same elements from nearer to the palace (Tate D32180; Turner Bequest CCCXVII 1).
The present sheet is here tentatively placed among the generally much more developed Venetian watercolours and drawings linked more securely to the 1840 tour.
1
Finberg 1909, II, p.1144.
2
Ibid., pp.1017–21.
Technical notes:
Tate conservation notes record the presence of watercolour, which seems to constitute a loose overall wash, given the heavy rubbing and staining; the sheet was previously folded twice towards the bottom. There is a dark diagonal mark at the top centre, with straight but divergent edges, and a particularly conspicuous splash of grey towards the bottom right. Ian Warrell did not mention this work in his near-comprehensive survey of the papers used on Turner’s visits to Venice.1

Matthew Imms
September 2018

1
See Ian Warrell in Warrell, David Laven, Jan Morris and others, Turner and Venice, exhibition catalogue, Tate Britain, London 2003, pp.258–9.

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