A Gondola on the Grand Canal, Venice, 1866
Signed and dated
17 7/8 x 13 7/8 in. (45.4 x 35.2 cm)
William Callow made several visits to Italy, each time making drawings and sketches that he used in London to produce finished watercolors. The Grand Canal in Venice has always been a popular subject for artists, and in the eighteenth century many images were produced of the great water festivals that took place there. During such festivals, processions of highly decorated gondolas progressed through the city's canals like a floating carnival. The gondola is the main mode of transport in Venice. This long, narrow boat is propelled by the gondolier, who uses a pole to propel the craft through the water. In Callow's painting, the gondolier can be seen pushing his gondola away from the steps of a house on the right of the picture. The striped red and white poles rising up from the canal were used as moorings to tie up the gondolas; each house had its own set of poles. Two figures lounging on the steps emphasize the proximity of water to the city's buildings.
Sotheby's, London, March 26, 1975, lot 250; with Thomas Agnew & Sons, London; with Galerie de Cadre, Paris; private collection, U.K.; Christie's, London, July 8, 1997, lot 74
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