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Core Record

Title The Tower of Marghera, Venice
Original Translation La torre di Marghera
Collection Bristol City Museum and Art Gallery
Artist Bellotto, Bernardo (Italian painter and draftsman, 1721-1780)
Previously attributed to Canaletto (Italian painter, 1697-1768)
Date Earliest about 1741
Date Latest about 1741
Description About 1741 Bernardo Bellotto accompanied Canaletto, his uncle and teacher, along the Brenta Canal towards Padua. The artists would have set out from Venice, passing through the Venetian Lagoon towards Marghera, now a heavily industrialised area. The scenery of the Lagoon inspired this painting and its pendant. Here a disused medieval watchtower has been adopted by local fishermen whose homes, with traditional Venetian funnel-shaped chimneys, cluster around the ancient tower. As with the pendant, Bellotto based this composition on his uncle's designs. Another version in oil by Bellotto differs in small details (Gustav Rau Collection).
Current Accession Number K5269
Former Accession Number L84/101
Subject place (Marghera, Venice); landscape (Venice Lagoon); buildings and gardens (Torre di Marghera); figure
Measurements 38 x 62 cm (estimate)
Material oil on canvas
Acquisition Details Given by H. M. Government 1988.
Provenance Possibly Sir John Murray, early-nineteenth century; Admiral Sir Victor Crutchley V. C., Mappercombe Manor, Bridport, -1984; given by the estate of Sir Admiral Victor Crutchley to H. M. Government in lieu of tax, 1987.
Publications Kowalczyk Bozena, A., 'Il Bellotto veneziano: §grande intendimento ricercasi§', Arte Veneta, 1995, pp. 71-89, ill. p. 87, fig. 25.

Old gilt labels held on file indicate this work and its pendant were attributed to Canaletto before they came to the attention of scholars.

The pendant is K5270.

Loaned by Sir Admiral Victor Crutchley to Bristol City Museum and Art Gallery, from 1984.

Gregory Martin attributed the pair to Bellotto. Ralph Toledano agreed with the attribution to Bellotto, 1988. The version by Bellotto in the collection of the late Gustav Rau differs slightly in dimensions (43 x 56.5) and details, such as the inclusion of a seated figure in the far right foreground.

For related compositions by Bellotto see S. Kozakiewicz Bernardo Bellotto, London, 1972 (K5270 and K5269 were unknown to Kozakiewicz at the time of writing).

For related compositions by Canaletto, see W. G. Constable Canaletto, Oxford, 1962, cat. 8 (etching), and cat. 369 (oil). The Canaletto etching is also illustrated in The Glory of Venice, London, 1994, p. 235, cat. no. 143.

K5269 and K5270 were the subject of press attention in 1988 following their acceptance by H. M. Government under the 'in lieu' scheme.

Commander William Crutchley, son of the previous owner, thought K5269 and K5270 were possibly in the collection of General Sir John Murray, Quartermaster General to Wellington in the Peninsular War.

Rights Owner Bristol's Museums, Galleries & Archives
Author Dr Susan Steer



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