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

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner Studies of a Venetian Bragozzo and Another Boat ?on the Bacino 1819

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Studies of a Venetian Bragozzo and Another Boat ?on the Bacino 1819
Turner Bequest CLXXXI 6a
Pencil on white wove paper 223 x 285 mm
Stamped in black with Turner Bequest monogram over ‘CLXXXI – 6’ bottom left
Inscribed in pencil ‘CLXXXI – 6’ bottom centre
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
As Ian Warrell has noted, the studies here show a bragozzo,1 a two-masted Adriatic fishing boat, under sail, and another boat with a single mast, possibly a caorlina,2 a long, low cargo boat characterised by the prominent upward sweep of both the bows and stern. They were perhaps observed in Venice’s Bacino di San Marco or the adjacent mouth of the Canale della Giudecca; as originally foliated, this page was opposite D15258 (Turner Bequest CLXXXI 7), a watercolour view north across the Bacino from off the Isola di San Giorgio Maggiore.
The present drawing, without any topographical indications, may have been made as an adjunct to the light pencil outlines underlying the watercolour,3 in which the wide expanse of water is shown clear of shipping. The notional horizon line here is somewhat higher, but this page strongly suggests that Turner used the sketchbook in the open air for at least part of the time, the status of its watercolours as direct observations or recollections having been open to debate, as discussed in the Introduction.
There are numerous separate pencil studies of sailing boats and gondolas in the contemporary Milan to Venice and Venice to Ancona sketchbooks (Tate; Turner Bequest CLXXV, CLXXVI), as noted in their Introductions.
Ian Warrell, undated note in Tate catalogue files.
See Warrell 2003, p.263 note 8.
Technical notes:
Slight splashes of blue towards what was originally the gutter at the lower right were presumably carried over from the water in the full-page view formerly bound opposite (D15258; Turner Bequest CLXXXI 7), as noted above.

Matthew Imms
March 2017

How to cite

Matthew Imms, ‘Studies of a Venetian Bragozzo and Another Boat ?on the Bacino 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-studies-of-a-venetian-bragozzo-and-another-boat-on-the-r1186397, accessed 30 May 2024.