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Canaletto (Venice 1697-Venice 1768)

'The house with the inscription' and 'The house with the peristyle' c.1741

Etching | 32.0 x 45.6 cm (sheet of paper) | RCIN 807805

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  • An etching of a townscape, possibly an imaginary view of Venice. The plate from which the impression is taken from has been divided into two parts and a dividing line is visible between the two parts. The left hand side (known as 'The house with the inscription') has been catalogued as Bromberg 13 and the right (known as 'The house with the peristyle') as Bromberg 14. An impression of Bromberg 14 is in the Royal Collection (RCIN 807804). On the left hand side is a house with an open terrace. Two men stand in front of the house. Beyond are houses, a classical ruin and a domed church, In the centre on the right are boats and boat-sheds. The right hand side shows a house with a peristyle attached at its right. On the far right is a crenallated wall, and beyond a view across the lagoon to Venice. To the left of the house are boat sheds and barges. In the right foreground is a seated male figure who surveys the scene from a wall. Inscribed on the facade of the house on the left hand side: MDCCXLI A.C. Stamped on the verso with the stamp of Dr Julius Hofmann (Lugt 1264).

    Canaletto and his nephew Bernardo Bellotto began to experiment with etching in the early 1740s, an enterprise that has often been attributed to the decline in visitors to Venice and commissions following the War of Austrian Succession. Many of Canaletto's prints take their subject matter from the locks, sluice gates and summerhouses along the Brenta Canal towards Padua; others are entirely imaginary. Canaletto made just thirty-three etchings in total, etched on plates of two different sizes (about 30 x 42cm and 14 x 21cm), several prints include titles, but only one is dated, to 1741. Thirty-one of the prints were published together some time after 1744 as Vedute alle prese da i luoghi altre ideate (Views, some taken from nature, others imaginary). The titleplate is dedicated to ‘Signor Giuseppe Smith, Console di S. M. Britanico’, who was appointed to the position of Consul that year; the set was probably issued before the artist left for England in 1746. Smith possibly commissioned and financed Canaletto’s experiments. Many of the Canaletto etchings in the Print Room at Windsor are second and third states and were probably acquired in the twentieth century. Identifiable by the traces of gold from the wash line borders with which they were once surrounded in Smith's Canaletto album, only a handful of prints definitely belonged to Smith, including several rare and unique impressions (see RCINs 807801, 807802, 807804).

    Dr Julius Hofmann, Vienna (Lugt 1264); C.G. Boerner, Leipzig, 8-11 May 1922, lot 1315

  • Medium and techniques



    32.0 x 45.6 cm (sheet of paper)

    29.8 x 21.5 cm (platemark)