A highly animated scene that captures all the excitement and mystery of 18th-century Venice, Canaletto’s The Presentation of the Doge in S. Marco is the first in a celebrated series of twelve elaborate drawings that the artist made around 1763-66, depicting the various festivals of the doges. Early views of the interior of St. Mark’s are extremely rare.
Just as important in the artist’s work is Turner’s grand 1822 watercolour, Sun-Rise: whiting fishing at Margate. Alongside these two pièces de résistance, the sale boasts an outstanding sheet of figure studies by Antoine Watteau, and an immensely important rediscovered compositional drawing by the great Florentine mannerist, Rosso Fiorentino, the authenticity of which is proved by the fact that the drawing itself is described in some detail by Rosso’s 16th-century biographer, Giorgio Vasari. Rosso’s drawings hardly ever appear on the market.