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Venice, Calm at Sunrise

Turner, Joseph Mallord William (draughtsman)

     This image represents an adult hand 8 inches(20cm) high) This image represents the relative size of the object [explain]

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Venice, Calm at Sunrise


Turner, Joseph Mallord William (draughtsman) [ULAN info: British artist, 1775-1851]







Technique Description

watercolour over black chalk with pen and red ink on paper


height: 222 mm
width: 325 mm




given: Ruskin, John 1861 (Filtered for: Paintings, Drawings and Prints)


  1. (2005) Treasures of the Fitzwilliam Museum, London: Scala [page: 94]
  2. Ruskin, John Works, [page: 558]
  3. Armstrong, Walter (1902) Turner, London? [page: 229]
  4. (1929) The Principal Pictures in the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge (1929), London? [page: 229]
    [comments: repr.]
  5. Finberg, A. J. (1930) In Venice with Turner, London? [page: 112, 135,]
    [comments: and p. 161; repr. pl. XXV]
  6. Gage, John (1974-5) Turner, 1775-1851, London?: Tate Gallery
    [comments: under no. 552]
  7. Cormack, Malcolm (1975) J.M.W. Turner, R.A. 1775-1851; a catalogue of Drawings and Watercolours in the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, Cambridge (Cambs.): Cambridge University Press [page: 66]
    [comments: cat. no. 39, pl. 39 (black and white) and as frontispiece (colour)]
  8. Wilton, Andrew (1979) The Life and Work of J.M.W. Turner, London?
    [comments: no. 1361]
  9. Stainton, Lindsay (1985) Turner's Venice, [page: 59-60]
    [comments: as "S. Giogrio Maggiore and S. Maria della Salute, calm at sunrise 1840?"]


Ruskin though this watercolour ‘first rate’. Although he considered it to be a ‘companion’ to 'Venice, storm at sunset', exhibited alongside, there is no indication that this was Turner’s intention. During his two-week stay in Venice between August and September 1840, Turner made 180 summary sketches of the city in ‘roll’ sketchbooks, often returning to views and subjects which he had drawn on earlier occasions. A view of San Giorgio and its distinctive campanile (seen on the left) in morning light had been among the four watercolours which he had painted during his first, brief visit in 1819, and clearly attracted his attention again it would have been easily visible from his hotel over twenty years later. Technically and stylistically, it is a remarkably assured work, in which Turner completely reverses the eighteenth century notion of watercolour as a tinted drawing by using pen and red ink to define form only after the initial, thin watercolour washes had been floated across the paper. (Text from 'Ruskin's Turners' Exhibition Website).


watercolour (medium)
black chalk (medium)
red ink (medium)
paper (support)

Accession Number

591 (Paintings, Drawings and Prints)
(Reference Number: 13997; Input Date: 2000-10-10 / Last Edit: 2011-07-22)

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