Joseph Mallord William Turner

The Rialto Bridge on the Grand Canal, Venice, with the Fondaco dei Tedeschi Beyond


Not on display

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 112 × 185 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CLXXV 78 a

Catalogue entry

Inverted relative to the sketchbook’s foliation, the drawing continues on folio 79 recto opposite (D14466). The Turner scholar C.F. Bell annotated Finberg’s 1909 Inventory entry (‘Ponte di Rialto, with Fondaco de’ Tedeschi and other buildings seen through its arch’): ‘from the Canal’.1
The viewpoint is below the north end of the south-west side of the bridge, looking diagonally eastwards through its single arch. On the right on this page are buildings on the Riva del Ferro, remaining much the same today. The balcony at the top right now belongs to the Hotel Rialto, while the tall, narrow arch at the centre is at the entrance to the Calle Bombasei. The upper level of the buildings and their roofs is continued as a separate detail on the opposite page. There is a quick sketch made from the foot of the steps to the bridge on this side in the contemporary Route to Rome sketchbook (Tate D13870; Turner Bequest CLXXI 6a), taking in the whole of the bridge itself set against a cursory version of the skyline.
Although Martin Butlin2 related the overall view to the very large but unfinished painting The Rialto, Venice of about 1820 (Tate N05543),3 it shows a prospect under the bridge looking in the opposite direction based on the drawing on folios 80 verso–81 recto (D14469–D14470), and is discussed under those pages.
For other drawings made in the vicinity and an overview of Turner’s coverage of Venice, see the sketchbook’s Introduction.

Matthew Imms
March 2017

Undated MS note by C.F. Bell (died 1966) in copy of Finberg 1909, Tate Britain Prints and Drawings Room, I, p.515.
See Butlin 1974, p.86; and Butlin and Joll 1984, p.152.
Butlin and Joll 1984, p.152 no.245, pl.248.

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