It’s striking how many times he depicted scenes from the window or on the rooftop of the Hotel Europa, where he stayed during his visits to Venice in 1833 and 1840 (on his first visit to Venice in 1819, he had stayed at the Albergo Leon Bianco near the Rialto).In this 1840 watercolour, he drew a lively and evocative sketch of the interior of his room at the Hotel Europa:
When I first read that Turner stayed at the ‘Hotel Europa’, I immediately pictured the present day Hotel Europa e Regina (behind San Moise). But a bit more delving made me realise that this was incorrect.
Turner’s‘Hotel Europa’ is in fact Ca’ Giustinian, which since the mid 1940s, has been the headquarters for the Venice Biennale. The building is located between Calle del 13 Martiri and Calle del Ridotto, just behind San Moise.During Turner’s final stay in Venice, he seems to have used his rooms in the hotel as a temporary studio. The view from his room looked out towards the Campanile of San Marco to the east, and from the top of the building, he could look across the Grand Canal to the Dogana and the Salute.
Here are some links to the Tate’s website showing Turner’s sketches from the Hotel Europa:
Venice:Lightning behind the Campanile of San Marco, from the Roof of the Hotel Europa (watercolour and gouache on paper, c 1840)
Venice: Looking North from the Hotel Europa, with the Campaniles of San Marco, San Moise and Santo Stefano
(graphite, watercolour and bodycolour on paper, 1840)
(graphite, watercolour and pen and ink on paper, 1840)
Ca’ Giustinian was formed in the 16th century when two buildings, Ca’ Giustinian (1474) and Ca’ Badoer-Tiepolo were joined. In 1750, it passed from the Giustinian family to the Morosinis. In 1817, Arnold Marseille bought the building, and turned it into the ‘Hotel de l’Europe’.
As well as Turner, other famous guests at the Hotel Europa included:
Giuseppe Verdi - he stayed in a room with a private drawing room and piano, and composed part of Ernani (1843) and Rigoletto (1851) here.
Théophile Gautier wrote some chapters of Voyage en Italie (1852) at the hotel.
Marcel Proust and Francois-Rene de Chateaubriand were guests at the turn of the 20th century.