Joseph Mallord William Turner

Venice Rooftops from the Hotel Europa (Palazzo Giustinian), Looking towards the Giardini Reali and the Campanile of San Marco (St Mark’s)

1840

In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Gouache, graphite and watercolour on paper
Dimensions
Support: 193 × 280 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D32179
Turner Bequest CCCXVI 42

Catalogue entry

Finberg later annotated his 1909 Inventory entry (‘Venice ... “From my bed-room. T.”’): ‘scaffolding round Campanile’.1 The Turner scholar C.F. Bell gave more detail in his own copy: ‘on the left the Campanile (with scaffolding on it); in the middle the south side of the Procuratie Nuove in perspective | between it and the Zecca is the central balcony on the west front of the Ducal Palace. On the right is the south façade of the Pietà. Roofs in the foreground’.2 The presence of scaffolding is a key indicator for Turner’s 1840 stay in Venice, as it was not there in 1833, during his previous visit; see the Introduction to the present tour.
A fresh, breezy atmosphere has been generated by the application of loose washes in the sky and foreground shadows. Nevertheless, with its detailed pencil work3 (including, unusually, the outlines of clouds) this is one of the more conventionally topographical study among the sheets grouped here showing views made from within and around the Hotel Europa (the Palazzo Giustinian), where Turner was staying; see the Introduction to this subsection. As the artist’s inscription on the verso makes clear in this case (see also Tate D32140, D32219; Turner Bequest CCCXVI 3, CCCXVII 34),4 the viewpoint here was his room, apparently high up at the north-eastern corner, looking north-east to the campanile of San Marco (St Mark’s) on the left, and east to the waters of the Bacino off the Riva degli Schiavoni beyond on the right.
The campanile of St Mark’s is seen from within the room in D32219. Compare also Tate D32142, D32173, D32224, D32229, D32254 and D35949 in the present grouping (Turner Bequest CCCXVI 5, 36, CCCXVIII 5, 10, CCCXIX 6, CCCLXIV 106),5 and in particular Tate D35882 (Turner Bequest CCCLXIV 43), a similar view articulated in watercolour alone with deeper shadows suggesting ‘the end of the afternoon’,6 which extends the vista a little further to the south-east on the right to include the church of San Giorgio Maggiore.
Ian Warrell has noticed and interpreted an inconspicuous but significant detail in the present work, where ‘Turner’s sharp eyes lighted on an open window in the building to the [bottom] left, through which can be seen a reclining nude, stretched out like an odalisque’; a similar figure is suggested by dashes of warm colour in a nocturnal view (D32224).7 For more overt erotic subjects associated with this visit, see the parallel catalogue subsection of interiors and figures.
1
Undated MS note by Finberg (died 1939) in interleaved copy of Finberg 1909, Prints and Drawings Room, Tate Britain, II, p.1021.
2
Undated MS note by Bell (died 1966) in copy of Finberg 1909, Prints and Drawings Room, Tate Britain, II, p.1021.
3
See Wilton 1975, p.137, and Warrell 2003, p.140.
4
See also Warrell 2003, p.138.
5
See also Wilton 1975, p.137, Stainton 1985, p.61, and Warrell 2003, pp.24, 138.
6
Ibid., p.140.
7
Ibid.; see also p.24.
1
Compare the work’s present state with that shown in Warrell 2003, pl.146 (colour).
2
Albeit Peter Bower, Turner’s Later Papers: A Study of the Manufacture, Selection and Use of his Drawing Papers 1820–1851, exhibition catalogue, Tate Gallery, London 1999, p.81, notes that the Muggeridge family had taken over after 1820, still using the ‘C Ansell’ watermark.
3
‘Appendix: The papers used for Turner’s Venetian Watercolours’ (1840, section 1) in Warrell 2003, p.259.
4
Not in Andrew Wilton, J.M.W. Turner: His Life and Work, Fribourg 1979; Warrell 2003, fig.148 (colour).
5
Warrell 2003, p.259; see Peter Bower, Turner’s Later Papers: A Study of the Manufacture, Selection and Use of his Drawing Papers 1820–1851, exhibition catalogue, Tate Gallery, London 1999, pp.105–7 under no.59.

Matthew Imms
September 2018

Read full Catalogue entry

You might like