Joseph Mallord William Turner

The Villa Pisani, Stra; a Figure


Not on display

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 185 × 112 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CLXXV 36 a

Catalogue entry

The Turner scholar C.F. Bell annotated Finberg’s noncommittal 1909 Inventory entry (‘Figures, Etc.’), as ‘“Stra” Villa Pisani’, indicating Turner’s scrawled inscription.1 Bell similarly marked the augmented entries for other pages of this sketchbook in Finberg’s 1930 In Venice with Turner: ‘Villa Pisani at “Stra”’.2 He was correct in identifying the subject: among various slight drawings made here with the page turned vertically (unusually including one apparently cancelled with a zigzag line), the hurried central study shows the south-eastern front of the large Baroque Villa Pisani, presumably seen when passing eastwards along the banks of the adjacent Naviglio del Brenta.
On the east side of the town of Stra, the house and its extensive grounds are set within a wide bend of the waterway, which runs from Padua (see under folio 35 recto; D14380) to Fusina on the coast facing Venice (views of which begin on folio 37 verso; D14384). Dolo is just to the east; see folio 34 recto (D14378). Although the villa’s north-western garden front is very similar, the presence of gateways with arched pediments flanking the wings shows this is the waterside façade.
The standing figure of the woman at the bottom was presumably observed at more leisure, although what seem to be brief notes on her costume are largely illegible. For other figure studies in this book, see under folio 18 verso (D14351).

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.513.
Undated MS note by Bell (before 1936) in copy of A.J. Finberg, In Venice with Turner, London 1930, Prints and Drawings Study Room, British Museum, London, p.[?]163, as transcribed by Ian Warrell (undated notes, Tate catalogue files).

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