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

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner The Basilica of San Marco (St Mark's), Venice, from the Piazzetta dei Leoni (Leoncini) 1819

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Folio 15 Recto:
The Basilica of San Marco (St Mark’s), Venice, from the Piazzetta dei Leoni (Leoncini) 1819
Turner Bequest CLXXVI 15
Pencil on white wove paper, 111 x 184 mm
Inscribed by John Ruskin in red ink ‘15’ bottom right (now faint)
Stamped in black ‘CLXXVI – 15’ bottom right
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
The Turner scholar C.F. Bell annotated Finberg’s 1909 Inventory entry (‘S. Marco, from the Piazzetta dei Leoni’): ‘looking up the Piazza to the Royal Palace’.1 Bell marked Finberg’s similar text in In Venice with Turner (1930): ‘Looking up the Piazza, westwards’.2
The view is to the south-west across the Piazzetta dei Leoni (Leoncini). The façade in the immediate foreground on the right, with its large roundel between half-columns, is the church of San Basso, now a concert hall; opposite is the ornate well beside the marble-faced blank arcade along the north front of the basilica of San Marco (St Mark’s), and to the right are the two lion statues which give the square its name. Over the far end of Piazza San Marco (St Mark’s Square) rises the campanile of San Moisè, and the campanile of St Mark’s itself looms over the roofline on the left. There are numerous detailed studies of the basilica and campanile from other angles in the contemporary Milan to Venice sketchbook.
There is a brief continuation to the left on folio 14 verso opposite (D14514), where the Porta dei Fiori is shown. For other aspects of Venice on adjacent pages, see the sketchbook’s Introduction.

Matthew Imms
March 2017

Undated MS note by C.F. Bell (died 1966) in copy of Finberg 1909, Tate Britain Prints and Drawings Room, I, p.517.
Undated MS note by Bell (before 1936) in copy of Finberg 1930, Prints and Drawings Study Room, British Museum, London, p.167, as transcribed by Ian Warrell (undated notes, Tate catalogue files).

How to cite

Matthew Imms, ‘The Basilica of San Marco (St Mark’s), Venice, from the Piazzetta dei Leoni (Leoncini) 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-the-basilica-of-san-marco-st-marks-venice-from-the-piazzetta-r1186250, accessed 28 May 2024.