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

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner The Dogana and Santa Maria della Salute, Venice, across the Grand Canal from the Hotel Europa (Palazzo Giustinian) at Twilight 1840

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
The Dogana and Santa Maria della Salute, Venice, across the Grand Canal from the Hotel Europa (Palazzo Giustinian) at Twilight 1840
Turner Bequest CCCXVI 29
Pencil, watercolour and ink on white wove paper, 194 x 280 mm
Partial watermark ‘B, E, & | 182’
Blind-stamped with Turner Bequest monogram towards bottom right
Stamped in black ‘CCCXVI – 29’ bottom right
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
The view is south across the Grand Canal through the open porch of the Dogana facing the Bacino towards the left, with the Zitelle church on the Isola della Giudecca in the distance. Turner has laterally compressed the long north front of the Dogana to about half its actual relative width, bringing in the Seminario Patriarcale above it at the centre, with the domes of the church of Santa Maria della Salute rising to the south-west, catching the last rays of the sun or the afterglow of the still bright sky on the right. The low viewpoint is near the water level, and the pencil outline was sketched in the vicinity of the entrance to the Hotel Europa (the Palazzo Giustinian), where Turner was staying; see the Introduction to this subsection. Compare detailed pencil drawings of the Dogana and Salute from this spot in the 1819 Milan to Venice sketchbook (Tate D14389, D14417; Turner Bequest CLXXV 40, 54).
Watercolour washes and the fine lines of ink or watercolour, likely drawn with a pen to further articulate the architecture, could possibly have been applied while watching the sunset effect from the Europa’s roof, but not directly from Turner’s bedroom high on a corner away from the canal. As Robert Upstone has observed: ‘Colour has been dragged down to provide the magical reflection’.1 Evelyn Joll has called the result ‘a drawing of exceptional delicacy’.2
Albeit with its wider scope including the Salute, the left-hand half of this study acts fortuitously as an evening equivalent to the well-known 1819 watercolour of the Dogana in the Como and Venice sketchbook (Tate D15256; Turner Bequest CLXXXI 6), with its fresh early morning light. A similar evening mood suffuses an 1840 view of the church of San Giorgio Maggiore (Tate D32165; Tate CCCXVI 28), which itself has a near-equivalent morning counterpart in the 1819 sketchbook (Tate D15254; Turner Bequest CLXXXI 4). Like the earlier pages, the two 1840 sheets form an approximate panorama, resolved in the 1842 painting The Dogano, San Giorgio, Citella, from the Steps of the Europa (Tate N00372).3 The present work and D32166 were paired in the early National Gallery display selected from the Turner Bequest; writing in 1857, John Ruskin noted they were ‘used by him as materials in his late Venetian paintings’.4
While Turner made numerous watercolours including the prominent church from various angles,5 an 1840 view from around the same point (private collection)6 shifts the focus west along the Grand Canal; with the Salute’s glowing white domes on the left counterbalanced by a yellow and white sunset sky on the right it is similar in its ‘elegiac’ atmosphere.7 Compare also a less finished contemporary sunset study of the Dogana and Salute from a little further east (Tate D32174; Turner Bequest CCCXVI 37), and the atmospheric watercolour The New Moon (the Punta della Dogana, with the Zitelle Beyond) (private collection),8 corresponding to the left-hand part of the present view and similar in mood to the 1842 painting.9
A slighter drawing in the present grouping shows the same view in rainy conditions (Tate D33883; Turner Bequest CCCXLI 183).
Upstone 1993, p.37.
Joll 1993, p.12.
Martin Butlin and Evelyn Joll, The Paintings of J.M.W. Turner, revised ed., New Haven and London 1984, pp.245–6 no.396, pl.400 (colour).
Cook and Wedderburn 1904, p.296; see also Warrell 2003, p.207.
See Warrell 2003, p.168.
Andrew Wilton, J.M.W. Turner: His Life and Work, Fribourg 1979, p.464 no.1368.
See Warrell 2003, p.171.
Wilton 1979, p.464 no.1365.
See Warrell 2003, p.207.
Technical notes:
There are seven 1840 Venice works Ian Warrell has noted as on ‘sheets of white paper probably made [under the name] Charles Ansell.1 These measure approximately 19.8 x 28.4 cm (indicating that they were folded and torn into eight pieces from an imperial sheet)’:2 Tate D32140, D32165, D32179, D35882, D35949, D36192 (Turner Bequest CCCXVI 3, 28, 42, CCCLXIV 43, 106, 334); see also San Giorgio Maggiore from the Hotel Europa, at the Entrance to the Grand Canal (Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester).3 Warrell has noted that the present sheet ‘seems to relate to this group, both technically and in terms of its size, but this has been identified by [paper conservator] Peter Bower as paper produced by Bally, Ellen and Steart’.4
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.
‘Appendix: The papers used for Turner’s Venetian Watercolours’ (1840, section 1) in Warrell 2003, p.259; see also p.138.
Not in Andrew Wilton, J.M.W. Turner: His Life and Work, Fribourg 1979; Warrell 2003, fig.148 (colour).
Warrell 2003, p.259; see Bower 1999, pp.105–7 under no.59.
Blank; inscribed in pencil ‘(29)’ below left of centre, ‘18’ above right of centre, and ‘37’ top right; stamped in black with Turner Bequest monogram over ‘CCCXVI – 29’ towards bottom right.

Matthew Imms
September 2018

How to cite

Matthew Imms, ‘The Dogana and Santa Maria della Salute, Venice, across the Grand Canal from the Hotel Europa (Palazzo Giustinian) at Twilight 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-the-dogana-and-santa-maria-della-salute-venice-across-the-r1197018, accessed 22 June 2021.