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Richard Parkes Bonington, 1802–1828, British

Grand Canal, Venice

Former Title(s):

Grand Canal, Venice, Italy


Oil on millboard
Support (PTG): 9 1/4 x 13 3/4 inches (23.5 x 34.9 cm)
Credit Line:
Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection
Copyright Status:
Public Domain
Accession Number:
Paintings and Sculpture
Subject Terms:
architecture | balconies | barge | boats | buildings | canal | canal | church | cityscape | clouds | facades | gondolas | marine art | palaces | people | piers (marine landings) | reflection | river
Associated Places:
Grand Canal | Italy | Veneto | Venezia | Venice
Not on view

Bonington left Paris for Italy with his friend and pupil Charles Rivet, later Baron Rivet, on 4 April 1826. They traveled quickly through France and Switzerland, arriving in Milan on 11 April. Bonington was eager to press on, for, as Rivet noted, he “thinks only of Venice” (Noon, 1991, p. 56). Reaching Verona on 18 April, they arrived in Venice a few days later and stayed there until the end of May. Bonington sketched incessantly in graphite, watercolor, and oils. These sketches provided subject matter for much of his finished art in the remaining months of his life. From Venice the two friends went on to Padua, Florence, Pisa, Lerici, Genoa, and Turin, never lingering in any one place. Rivet was back in Paris by 20 June, though Bonington may have done some further traveling on his own in Switzerland. In 1825 Bonington had begun sketching en plein air in oils on small millboards, which he discovered during his trip to London. He seems to have brought back about two dozen such sketches on millboard from Italy (Noon, 1991, pp. 59–60). This oil sketch shows the north side of the Grand Canal near its entrance, looking towards the Bacino di San Marco. While Bonington has deftly captured the brilliant shimmering light on the water and the facades of the palazzi, topographical accuracy was clearly not a priority. He has elided the famous Palazzo Gritti-Pisani from the succession of buildings lining the canal.

Geoffrey Agnew, Yale's 1700 Mellon Pictures, The Times (London), issue no. 59989, Thursday, April 28, 1977, p. 9, Available Online : Times Digital Archive Also available on Microfilm : Film An T842 (SML)

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. 293, no. 108, pl. 108, N5220 M552 P38 2007 OVERSIZE (YCBA)

Bruce Boucher, Vedute and Opera, Apollo, v. 119, no. 265, March 1984, p. 217, fig. 1, N1 A54 + (YCBA)

Christie's Advertisement for Sale on Friday, June 18, 1971, Apollo, v. 93, no. 112, June 1971, p. 23, N1 A54 + (YCBA)

Christie's Sale Catalogue: English Pictures c. 1700- c. 1850, 18 June 1971, Christie's, 1971, p. 33, Lot 108, Sales Catalogues (YCBA)

Malcolm Cormack, A Concise Catalogue of Paintings in the Yale Center for British Art, Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, CT, 1985, pp. 26-27, N590.2 A83 (YCBA)

Malcolm Cormack, Bonington, Phaidon, Oxford, 1989, pp. 6-7, 120-21, fig. 1, NJ18 B65 C67 + (YCBA)

James Gardner, A Poet in Paint, Magazine Antiques, vol. 178, January/February 2011, pp. 194-201, NK1125 A3 OVERSIZE

Grand Canal, Venice (Art Reproduction), Apollo, v. 93, no. 112, June 1971, p. 23, N1 A54 + (YCBA)

Luke Herrmann, Nineteenth century British painting, Giles de la Mare, London, 2000, no. 35, ND467 H47 2000 (YCBA)

Patrick Noon, Richard Parkes Bonington, "On the pleasure of painting" , Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, 1991, p. 212, no. 96, NJ18 B65 N66 1991 + (YCBA)

Patrick Noon, Richard Parkes Bonington, the complete paintings , Yale University Press, New Haven, 2008, p. 305, no. 240, NJ18 B65 A12 N66 2008 + (YCBA)

Paul Mellon's Legacy, a passion for British art. [large print labels] , Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, CT, 2007, v. 3, N5220 M552 +P381 2007, Mellon Shelf (YCBA)

Sales, Athenaeum, no. 2633, April, 1878, p.483, Available Online: British Periodicals II Also Available: A88 At421 + (SML)

Andrew Shirley, Bonington, K. Paul, Trench, Trubner & co., ltd., London, 1940, p 103, pl. 93, NJ18 B65 S5

The Pictures of the late R. P. Bonington, The Times (London), , Tuesday, August 27, 1833, p. 5, Available online : Times Digital Archive Also available on Microfilm : An T482 (SML)

The Sale Room, Apollo, v. 94, no. 115, September 1971, fig. 7, N1 A54 + (YCBA)

View on the Grand Canal, Venice (Art Reproduction), Connoisseur, v. 178, November 1971, p. 221, N1 C75 + (YCBA)

Wildenstein Loan Exhibition Venice Rediscovered 8 November - 15 December, November, 1972, p. 81, N1 A54 + (YCBA)

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