James Holland, OWS (British, 1799–1870)
The Ospedale Civile, Venice
Signed with monogram and dated 24th. Octr. 57. l.r., watercolour over pencil
18.5 x 24.3 cm
This free sketch is a delightful example of Holland’s virtuosity. He first visited Venice in 1835 and was to return throughout the rest of his life, inspired by the beauty of the city, like so many other artists. He valued his own sketches greatly and once commented that parting with a sketch was like parting with a tooth; once sold it cannot be replaced (L. R. Valpy, Memoir of Samuel Palmer, 1881, p. 76).
The facade of the Scuola Grande di San Marco, one of the six great philanthropic confraternities of the Venetian Republic, is by Pietro Lombardo (1435–1515) and Giovanni Buora (1487–90?) and was finished by Mauro Codussi in 1495. The lion of San Marco can be seen in the middle of Holland’s composition. The building is situated next to Santi Giovanni e Paolo and the interior is now occupied by the civic hospital of Venice which stretches to the lagoon.
Provenance: Sir Henry Houldsworth, Bt; Leger Galleries Ltd, February 1962; Private collection, UK