Joseph Mallord William Turner

The Porta della Carta Arcade, Leading to the Scala dei Giganti (Giants’ Stairway) in the Courtyard of the Palazzo Ducale (Doge’s Palace)


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 89 × 149 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCCXX 90 a

Catalogue entry

Finberg later annotated his 1909 unspecific Inventory entry, crossing out ‘Interior of building’ in favour of ‘St. Marks atrium’,1 publishing his revision as ‘Interior of S. Mark’s’.2 The Turner scholar C.F. Bell marked another copy of the Inventory: ‘Atrium of St Mark’s’.3
Rather than the interior the Basilica of San Marco (St Mark’s) itself, as seen in a contemporary colour study on brown paper (Tate D32241; Turner Bequest CCCXVIII 22), this horizontal drawing shows the view east through the adjacent arcade leading from the Porta della Carta doorway of the Palazzo Ducale (Doge’s Palace; see folio 87 verso; D32434), running between the palace on the right and the church on the left.
Towards the left, the Arco Foscari frames schematic vertical indications of the Scala dei Giganti (Giants’ Staircase), with the palace’s courtyard seen at an angle through the arches on the right. There is a detailed view of the staircase itself on folio 89 verso (D32438), and a smaller study looking the other way on folio 88 recto (D32435).
Compare a contemporary gouache and watercolour study on grey paper, showing the same view (Tate D32181; Turner Bequest CCCXVII 2).

Matthew Imms
September 2018

Undated MS note by Finberg (died 1939) in interleaved copy of Finberg 1909, Prints and Drawings Room, Tate Britain, II, p.1033.
Finberg 1930, p.171.
Undated MS note by Bell (died 1966) in copy of Finberg 1909, Prints and Drawings Room, Tate Britain, II, p..

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