<< YCBA Home Yale Center for British Art Yale Center for British Art << YCBA Home

YCBA Collections Search

Canaletto, 1697–1768, Venetian, active in Britain (1746–55)
The City of Westminster from Near the York Water Gate
between 1746 and 1747
Pen, brown ink and gray wash on thick, slightly textured, cream laid paper
Sheet: 15 1/4 x 28 1/4 inches (38.7 x 71.8 cm) and Frame: 32 × 42 × 1 1/4 inches (81.3 × 106.7 × 3.2 cm)
Credit Line:
Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection
Copyright Status:
Public Domain
Accession Number:
Drawings & Watercolors
Prints and Drawings
Subject Terms:
architectural subject | bridge (built work) | buildings | cathedrals | cityscape | columns | docks | gate | piers | river | water tower
Associated Places:
City of Westminster | England | London | Thames | United Kingdom
Accessible by request in the Study Room [Request]
Note: As a COVID-19 precaution, the Study Room is closed until further notice.
Curatorial Comment:
<double click to display>
<double click to hide>

Canaletto, who had primarily been known for his paintings, began to devote himself seriously to drawing and etching after the beginning of the War of Austrian Succession. By the time he moved to London, in 1746, his drawings were prized by collectors as works of art in their own right. Westminster Bridge, which can be seen in the left background, was one of Canaletto's favorite motifs during his time in London. Built between 1739 and 1750 (with construction delayed by the collapse of a pier in 1747), the bridge was in a much more advanced state of completion at the time Canaletto was in London than he indicates in this drawing. This inaccuracy hardly seems to matter, however. Throughout his career Canaletto had evinced an interest in portraying buildings and scenery at moments of change or accretion. Here, the uncompleted Westminster Bridge functions analogously to the fanciful ruins in his earlier Venetian works. The picturesque qualities of the foreground structures were clearly of equal interest to him. The massive wooden water tower, crowned with a finial, distributed water to outlying areas of London. York Watergate (the marble structure at the foot of the tower), fashioned to resemble a baroque temple, was the riverside entrance to the gardens of the demolished York House. In these forms, Canaletto found buildings that echoed the campaniles and canal-side churches of his native Venice.
--Cassandra Albinson,2007-01
Exhibition History:
<double click to display>
<double click to hide>

English Drawings and Watercolors from the collection of Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon (Yale University Art Gallery, 1965-04-15 - 1965-06-20)

English Landscape (Paul Mellon Collection) 1630-1850 (Yale Center for British Art, 1977-04-19 - 1977-07-17)

The Art of Paul Sandby (Yale Center for British Art, 1985-04-10 - 1985-06-23)

Canaletto (Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1989-10-30 - 1990-01-21)

Canaletto in England (Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery, 1993-10-14 - 1994-01-09)

The Line of Beauty : British Drawings and Watercolors of the Eighteenth Century (Yale Center for British Art, 2001-05-19 - 2001-08-05)

Canaletto in England - A Venetian Artist Abroad, 1746-1755 (Dulwich Picture Gallery, 2007-01-24 - 2007-04-15)

Canaletto in England - A Venetian Artist Abroad, 1746-1755 (Yale Center for British Art, 2006-10-19 - 2006-12-31)

Paul Mellon's Legacy : A Passion for British Art (Yale Center for British Art, 2007-04-18 - 2007-07-29)

An American's Passion for British Art - Paul Mellon's Legacy (Yale Center for British Art, 2007-04-18 - 2007-07-29)

An American's Passion for British Art - Paul Mellon's Legacy (Royal Academy of Arts, 2007-10-20 - 2008-01-27)

Canaletto and the Conquest of Light (Hôtel de Caumont, Aix-en-Provence, France, 2015-05-06 - 2015-09-20)

<double click to display>
<double click to hide>

John Baskett, Paul Mellon's legacy, a passion for British art : masterpieces from the Yale Center for British Art , Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, CT, 2007, p. 249, no. 17, pl. 17, N5220 M552 P38 2007 OVERSIZE (YCBA)

A loan exhibition of English drawings and watercolours from the collection of Mr and Mrs Paul Mellon of Upperville, Virginia, P. & D. Colnaghi & Co., London, 1964, cat. no. 7, pl. V, N5247.M385 L62 (YCBA)

Rozena Anna Kowalczyk, Canaletto : Rome, Londres, Venise : le triomphe de la lumie`re / ouvrage publie´ sous la direction scientifique de Madame Boz?ena Anna Kowalczyk, a` l'occasion de l'exposition au Centre d'art de l'hotel de Caumont, du 6 mai au 13 septembre 2015, Fonds Mercator, Bruxelles, 2015, pp. 132, 148, 149, 150, 211, cat no. 30, NJ18.C17 C356 2015 OVERSIZE (YCBA)

John Rich, The Stage's Glory, John Rich, 1692-1761 , University of Delaware Press, 2011, pp. 248-49, fig. 15.5, PN2598.R4575 S73 2011 + Oversize (YCBA)

Yale University Art Gallery, English drawings and watercolors, from the collection of Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon, April 15 - June 20, 1965 , New Haven, 1965, cat. no. 7, Pl. V, NC228 Y34 (YCBA)

English Drawings and Watercolours from the Mellon Collection, The Times (London), issue no. 56195, December 15, 1964, p. 6, Available online: The Times Digital Archive Also available on Microfilm: Film An T482 (SML)

If you have information about this object that may be of assistance please contact us.