Can’t face the summer crowds in Venice? Why not head to the Queen’s Gallery in London where Canaletto and the Art of Venice has just opened? This beautifully presented exhibition includes not just HM The Queen’s works by Canaletto but many works of art by his contemporaries, such as Sebastiano and Marco Ricci, Rosalba Carriera, Zuccarelli and Battista.
The common factor apart from Venice itself is Joseph Smith who, as British Consul in Venice, put together an extraordinary collection not just of paintings but also books and prints, which was sold to King George III in 1765. As a result the Royal Collection has one of the world’s most outstanding works from this golden age of Venetian art.
So it was with a particular interest in Joseph Smith that I visited the exhibition, as it displays Canaletto’s work in the context of other artists in Venice at the time, many of whom were supported by Joseph Smith. In my book Finding Veronese – Memoir of a painting, I followed one of these works, a copy of a Veronese altarpiece probably by Sebastiano Ricci, and its journey across Europe from Venice to London, to Scotland and finally to Sweden.
I have spent many hours looking through auction catalogues, books and documents in search of evidence for my painting’s origin. Was it once part of the Joseph Smith collection? At the Queen’s Gallery I found one or two further leads. So the search continues.
In the meantime, my book is still available as an E-book on Amazon.