Joseph Mallord William Turner

Two Landscape Sketches by Turner; and Notes by James Hakewill on Venice


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Pen and ink on paper
Support: 88 × 114 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CLXXI 24

Catalogue entry

This inscription by James Hakewill (1778–1843), represents advice to Turner on travelling in Italy in preparation for the artist’s first tour of the country in 1819 (see the introduction to the sketchbook). The text, which was first transcribed by Finberg,1 reads:
Venice – Go to the Leone Bianco | on the grand Canal. | See the Palace of the late Viceroy. | the Hall of the Council of State in the | Place of St Mark – | the Academy for the Tintoret (Miracle of St Mark) | the Church of the Frati for the | St Peter Martyr of | Titian.
Hakewill’s comments on Venice continue on folio 25 (D13905). Although Turner visited the city on the outward journey to Rome, rather than the return leg recommended by Hakewill, these comments would still have provided useful information on sightseeing and accommodation. As Ian Warrell has documented, the Albergo Leon Bianco was a hotel situated on the Grand Canal near the Palazzo Grimani and Rialto bridge.2 It was very popular with nineteenth-century British tourists, including the artist Clarkson Stanfield (1793–1867). Hakewill further recommends visiting the Doge’s [Viceroy] Palace and the Sala dei Maggior Consiglio [Hall of the Great Council], as well as pointing the way to two key Venetian works of art: Tintoretto’s (1518–94) The Miracle of Saint Mark Freeing the Slave, 1548, in the Accademia; and St Peter Martyr, 1530 (destroyed by fire in 1867), by Titian (circa 1490–1576). He erroneously suggests that the latter was located in the Basilica of the Frari (Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari).3 Turner, however, has crossed through the word ‘Frati [i.e. Frari]’ and correctly noted its actual location, the church of Santi Giovanni e Paolo.4 Turner was in fact already familiar with both of the paintings, having seen them amongst the spoliated works of Napoleon in the Louvre, in 1802.5 Furthermore, he had discussed the use of colour in both in Lecture V of his Royal Academy series in 1818.6 Nevertheless, he seized the opportunity to see them both again. A copy of the Titian can be seen in the Milan to Venice sketchbook (Tate D14390; Turner Bequest CLXXV 40a). Meanwhile, Sir Thomas Lawrence reported in a letter to Antonio Canova that Turner had seen the Tintoretto again in the Accademia, and unlike most visitors, had preferred it to Titian’s famous Assumption altarpiece, at that time on display in the same room.7

Nicola Moorby
March 2010

Finberg 1909, p.498.
See Warrell 2003, p.16.
Ibid., pp.17 and 59.
Ibid., p.17.
George 1996, p.25 and Warrell 2003, pp.17, 54–8.
See John Gage, Colour in Turner: Poetry and Truth, London 1969, pp.206–8, George 1996, p.25, and Warrell 2003, pp.17, 58.
See Gage 1969, p.91. Lawrence, letter to Canova, 23 February 1820, quoted in full in George 1996, p.30.

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