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

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner Buildings in Venice, ?with Figures on Steps and a Moored Boat 1840

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Folio 69 Recto:
Buildings in Venice, ?with Figures on Steps and a Moored Boat 1840
Turner Bequest CCCXIII 69
Pencil on cream wove paper, 123 x 173 mm
Partial watermark ‘J. Wh
Inscribed by John Ruskin in red ink ‘69’ top right, ascending vertically
Stamped in black ‘CCCXIII – 69’ top right, ascending vertically
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
The drawing was made with the page turned horizontally. Finberg later annotated his basic 1909 Inventory entry (‘Buildings in Venice’): ‘very rough’.1 There are loosely rendered buildings in the background, and figures on the left above what may be a flight of steps, perhaps over a bridge. The shapes towards the right perhaps suggest a moored boat, but little can be made of the marks in the lower half.
As discussed under folio 60 verso (D31909), many of the Venice drawings between there and folio 69 recto (D31926) are in a conspicuously rough mode, sometimes with identifiable landmarks but often seemingly rushed to the point of incoherence, perhaps either on account of stormy weather (see under folio 60 recto; D31908) or failing light.
Undated MS note by Finberg (died 1939) in interleaved copy of Finberg 1909, Prints and Drawings Room, Tate Britain, II, p.1012.
Technical notes:
There is some brownish staining down the right-hand side and specks of dark adventitious matter along the gutter, offset to or from folio 68 verso opposite (D31925).
The five leaves at the back of this sketchbook were apparently detached by accident or design at some stage; folios 66 and 67 (Tate D31920–D31923) are now secured to stubs formed by a narrow folded strip of modern paper, while folios 68, 69 and 70 (D31924–D31928) have been attached and reinforced at the gutter with thin Japanese-type conservation paper.

Matthew Imms
September 2018

How to cite

Matthew Imms, ‘Buildings in Venice, ?with Figures on Steps and a Moored Boat 1840 by Joseph Mallord William Turner’, catalogue entry, September 2018, in David Blayney Brown (ed.), J.M.W. Turner: Sketchbooks, Drawings and Watercolours, Tate Research Publication, December 2019, https://www.tate.org.uk/art/research-publications/jmw-turner/joseph-mallord-william-turner-buildings-in-venice-with-figures-on-steps-and-a-moored-boat-r1196821, accessed 22 January 2022.