Lot 36
  • 36

Edward Pritchett

100,000 - 150,000 USD
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  • Edward Pritchett
  • The Church of the Salute, Venice
  • signed E. PRITCHETT and inscribed No. 8 and Church of the Salute, Venice (on an old label attached to the reverse of the frame)
  • oil on canvas
  • 36 by 56 in.
  • 92 by 143 cm


Frost and Reed, London
Private Collection


The following condition report was kindly provided by Simon Parkes Art Conservation, Inc.: This work is in good condition. It is well restored and should be hung in its current state. The canvas has a good lining. The surface is stable. It can be seen that some cracking has been retouched in the darkest shadowed colors of the brown building in the center left. There is similar cracking in the darkest colors in the water in the reflection of the largest sailboat in the center, in the same boat's hull and in the brown boats behind it. Cracking has also developed in the dark gondola in the center of the left side, and in the darker reflections in the water. The lighter colored buildings including the Salute are almost devoid of retouches, with the only exception being the shadowed part of the building to the right of the Salute. These retouches address shrinkage to the paint layer in the darker colors, which is not uncommon. In the sky, there is only one restoration in the upper center.
In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective qualified opinion.

Catalogue Note

Very little is known about Edward Pritchett's life, but over the course of his nearly forty-year career, he painted innumerable cityscapes of Venice, the carnival city (Christopher Wood, Victorian Painting, New York, 1999, p. 362). For many nineteenth-century painters, like Pritchett and his contemporaries (see lots 32, 34), Italy, and primarily Venice, was the ultimate destination of the Grand Tour, and Victorian artists were taught to venerate this city above all (Wood, p. 363).

Pritchett developed a deep knowledge of Venice, which allowed him to recreate it so vividly. Far from being merely topographical, his paintings capture the essence of the picturesque city, with its crumbling stonework, vivacious locals, and bustle of commerce. The present work depicts Venice as a center of trade, humming with life and the exchange of goods, as it has for centuries. In this scene, fishermen and merchants go about their daily business at the entrance to the Grand Canal. Amidst the fast pace of this commercial hub, the architectural splendor appears timeless. This sun-lit view also depicts the Dogana di Mare, or Sea Customs Post, before the radiant domes of Santa Maria della Salute. The Dogana stretches to the tip of the Dorsoduro where arriving cargo ships from East and West would be inspected by customs officials.  The original fourteenth-century watch tower was replaced in 1690 by the present colonnaded Dogana. The buttressed square tower is crowned by a gilded globe supported by a pair of bronze crouching Atlases, on top of which a statue of the Goddess Fortuna dances, acting as a weathervane holding her gilded sail to the wind. Dominating the composition is the Santa Maria della Salute, immediately recognizable in its Baroque grandeur against the late afternoon sky. In 1630, following the devastating loss of nearly a third of the population from the plague, the Venetian Senate decided to build a church dedicated to the Virgin Mary, the protector of the Republic. This was a gesture of thanks for sparing the lives that she did. Since its completion in 1682, the church has become an icon of the floating city.