Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
The Piazzetta, Venice, from the Bacino, with the Zecca (Mint), Libreria Sansoviniana, Campanile and Basilica of San Marco (St Mark’s) and Palazzo Ducale (Ducal Palace) 1840
Chalk on grey-brown wove paper, 148 x 218 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Not mentioned in Finberg’s 1909 Inventory
, his later Venice book1
or other previous publications, this slight chalk sketch is on the verso of Tate D32249 (Turner Bequest CCCXIX 1), a colour study of Santa Maria della Salute and the Grand Canal.
The outlines on this side are just developed enough that the subject is recognisable as a view north from the Bacino (not far east of the canal), centred on the Molo entrance to the Piazzetta, flanked by the Zecca (Mint) and Libreria Sansoviniana on the left, and the Palazzo Ducale (Doge’s Palace) on the right, with a cluster of thicker marks for the domes of the Basilica of San Marco (St Mark’s) beyond it. Two or three very slight vertical strokes towards the top left indicate the campanile.
The view is one that Turner depicted many times in rather more detailed drawings, perhaps the best-known being a sunlit colour study from further out on the water in his 1819 Como and Venice sketchbook (Tate D15258; Turner Bequest CLXXXI 7). But for its recto, the present sketch would have been placed in its own right in the parallel subsection of views in and around the Piazzetta and St Mark’s Square; among the works there, compare in particular two equally slight white chalk outlines of the same scene on similar brown sheets (Tate D34231–D34232; Turner Bequest CCCXLII 40, 41).