The Holburne Museum offer a rare opportunity to see the largest collection of Canaletto’s paintings of Venice, exquisitely depicting the historical significance of the celebrated city.
One of the most important and stunning collections of paintings of Venice by Giovanni Antonio Canal – known as Canaletto – are leaving their home of Woburn Abbey for the first time in over 70 years.
This exhibition provides the rare opportunity to view the 23 paintings close-up and at viewing height, having previously only hung in stacks of three in the Abbey’s Dining Hall. This particular collection was created over a four-year period when Canaletto was at the peak of his career. Commissioned by the 4th Duke of Bedford during the Grand Tour of 1731, the Duke, like so many other English nobles of time, was completely seduced by Canaletto’s detailed depictions of the beautiful city of Venice. Canaletto was particularly known for his precise and evocative views of the city, and these paintings are the largest collection he ever produced.
These paintings together provide interesting historical and cultural viewpoints of Venice, exploring it as the thriving trading port it was at the time, trading regularly with the Ottoman Empire and other eastern nations. Canaletto’s depictions show views of the canals rarely captured by other artists, as well as well-known nooks and crannies. The exhibition will also explore the life and further work of this prolific painter, diving into the context of 18th-century Venice and the history of the Grand Tour.