J.M.W. Turner: Sketchbooks, Drawings and Watercolours

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner Boats on a Venetian Waterway 1819

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Folio 37 Verso:
Boats on a Venetian Waterway 1819
Turner Bequest CLXXV 37a
Pencil on white wove paper, 112 x 185 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Finberg subsequently annotated his basic 1909 Inventory entry (‘Boats’): ‘Boats off Quay. Pby. Venice. [‘?Fusina’ inserted above] Very rough’.1 The Turner scholar C.F. Bell annotated another copy: ‘on the Cannaregio??’.2 Bell similarly annotated Finberg’s more detailed 1930 entry in his In Venice with Turner (‘Boats off Quay. Perhaps at Fusina’).3
Inverted relative to the sketchbook’s foliation, the rapid studies of gondolas and sailing boats here appear to be in the foreground of a Venetian canal scene, although the buildings, including the spire of a distant campanile, are so tentatively drawn that the setting is uncertain, and it may even be the case that the boats were drawn on a different occasion. The drawings on folios 37 verso–39 verso (D14384–D14388) are all of a similarly slight character, with more attention paid to the small craft than their settings. For other studies of boats in this sketchbook, see under the recto (D14383).

Matthew Imms
March 2017

Undated MS note by A.J. Finberg (died 1939) in interleaved copy of Finberg 1909, Tate Britain Prints and Drawings Room, I, opposite p.513.
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 Finberg 1930, Prints and Drawings Study Room, British Museum, London, p.163, as transcribed by Ian Warrell (undated notes, Tate catalogue files).

How to cite

Matthew Imms, ‘Boats on a Venetian Waterway 1819 by Joseph Mallord William Turner’, catalogue entry, March 2017, in David Blayney Brown (ed.), J.M.W. Turner: Sketchbooks, Drawings and Watercolours, Tate Research Publication, July 2017, https://www.tate.org.uk/art/research-publications/jmw-turner/joseph-mallord-william-turner-boats-on-a-venetian-waterway-r1186497, accessed 15 January 2021.