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

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner Venice Rooftops from the Hotel Europa (Palazzo Giustinian), Looking towards the Giardini Reali and the Campanile of San Marco (St Mark's) 1840

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Venice Rooftops from the Hotel Europa (Palazzo Giustinian), Looking towards the Giardini Reali and the Campanile of San Marco (St Mark’s) 1840
D32179
Turner Bequest CCCXVI 42
Pencil, gouache and watercolour on white wove paper, 193 x 280 mm
Blind-stamped with Turner Bequest monogram bottom left
Stamped in black ‘CCCXVI 42’ bottom right
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Finberg later annotated his 1909 Inventory entry (‘Venice ... “From my bed-room. T.”’): ‘scaffolding round Campanile’.1 The Turner scholar C.F. Bell gave more detail in his own copy: ‘on the left the Campanile (with scaffolding on it); in the middle the south side of the Procuratie Nuove in perspective | between it and the Zecca is the central balcony on the west front of the Ducal Palace. On the right is the south façade of the Pietà. Roofs in the foreground’.2 The presence of scaffolding is a key indicator for Turner’s 1840 stay in Venice, as it was not there in 1833, during his previous visit; see the Introduction to the present tour.
A fresh, breezy atmosphere has been generated by the application of loose washes in the sky and foreground shadows. Nevertheless, with its detailed pencil work3 (including, unusually, the outlines of clouds) this is one of the more conventionally topographical study among the sheets grouped here showing views made from within and around the Hotel Europa (the Palazzo Giustinian), where Turner was staying; see the Introduction to this subsection. As the artist’s inscription on the verso makes clear in this case (see also Tate D32140, D32219; Turner Bequest CCCXVI 3, CCCXVII 34),4 the viewpoint here was his room, apparently high up at the north-eastern corner, looking north-east to the campanile of San Marco (St Mark’s) on the left, and east to the waters of the Bacino off the Riva degli Schiavoni beyond on the right.
The campanile of St Mark’s is seen from within the room in D32219. Compare also Tate D32142, D32173, D32224, D32229, D32254 and D35949 in the present grouping (Turner Bequest CCCXVI 5, 36, CCCXVIII 5, 10, CCCXIX 6, CCCLXIV 106),5 and in particular Tate D35882 (Turner Bequest CCCLXIV 43), a similar view articulated in watercolour alone with deeper shadows suggesting ‘the end of the afternoon’,6 which extends the vista a little further to the south-east on the right to include the church of San Giorgio Maggiore.
Ian Warrell has noticed and interpreted an inconspicuous but significant detail in the present work, where ‘Turner’s sharp eyes lighted on an open window in the building to the [bottom] left, through which can be seen a reclining nude, stretched out like an odalisque’; a similar figure is suggested by dashes of warm colour in a nocturnal view (D32224).7 For more overt erotic subjects associated with this visit, see the parallel catalogue subsection of interiors and figures.
1
Undated MS note by Finberg (died 1939) in interleaved copy of Finberg 1909, Prints and Drawings Room, Tate Britain, II, p.1021.
2
Undated MS note by Bell (died 1966) in copy of Finberg 1909, Prints and Drawings Room, Tate Britain, II, p.1021.
3
See Wilton 1975, p.137, and Warrell 2003, p.140.
4
See also Warrell 2003, p.138.
5
See also Wilton 1975, p.137, Stainton 1985, p.61, and Warrell 2003, pp.24, 138.
6
Ibid., p.140.
7
Ibid.; see also p.24.
Technical notes:
The centre of the sheet has darkened somewhat owing to prolonged exposure in the course of the touring Third Loan Collection displays, when the edges were protected by a mount. This browning effect appears to have been mitigated in recent years, most obviously in lessening the contrast between the surrounding sky and the white gouache used on the campanile.1
This is one of seven 1840 Venice works Ian Warrell has noted as on ‘sheets of white paper probably made [under the name] Charles Ansell.2 These measure approximately 19.8 x 28.4 cm (indicating that they were folded and torn into eight pieces from an imperial sheet)’:3 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).4 Warrell has noted that an ‘eighth sheet’, Tate D32166 (Turner Bequest CCCXVI 29), ‘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’.5
1
Compare the work’s present state with that shown in Warrell 2003, pl.146 (colour).
2
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.
3
‘Appendix: The papers used for Turner’s Venetian Watercolours’ (1840, section 1) in Warrell 2003, p.259.
4
Not in Andrew Wilton, J.M.W. Turner: His Life and Work, Fribourg 1979; Warrell 2003, fig.148 (colour).
5
Warrell 2003, p.259; see 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, pp.105–7 under no.59.
Verso:
Blank; inscribed by Turner in pencil ‘from my Bed Room | V’ top right; inscribed in pencil ‘36’ top right; stamped in black ‘CCCXVI – 42’ and inscribed in pencil ‘CCCXVI.42’ bottom centre; inscribed in pencil ‘D32179’ bottom right.

Matthew Imms
September 2018

How to cite

Matthew Imms, ‘Venice Rooftops from the Hotel Europa (Palazzo Giustinian), Looking towards the Giardini Reali and the Campanile of San Marco (St Mark’s) 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-venice-rooftops-from-the-hotel-europa-palazzo-giustinian-r1197020, accessed 09 July 2020.