A painting by Canaletto of a river with buildings running down each side and people on boats
Royal Collection Trust/ © His Majesty King Charles III 2023

Royal Collection Canaletto to go on display in Hull

A painting by world renowned Italian artist, Canaletto will go on display at the Ferens Art Gallery later this year. A Regatta on the Grand Canal c.1733-4 is lent by His Majesty The King from the Royal Collection, and is the fifth and final work loaned to the gallery as part of a partnership with Royal Collection Trust that started in 2017.

The painting shows the entire central stretch of the Grand Canal and is painted from the same vantage point as The Grand Canal, Venice, Looking North East from the Palazzo Balbi to the Rialto Bridge, a work made around 1724 by Canaletto from the Ferens’ own collection. The Royal Collection painting shows the regatta of the feast of the Purification of the Virgin, held annually on 2 February in Venice since 1315. Elaborately decorated barges belonging to prominent Venetian families line the Canal, while both men and women appear dressed in carnival costume, identifiable by the distinctive black cloaks, white masks and black tricorne hats.

Kerri Offord, Curator of Ferens Art Gallery said:

“We’re grateful to Royal Collection Trust for this loan and the incredible partnership we have had for the last six years.

“This final artwork will be part of something very exciting coming later this year, and we ask that artists keep a close eye out for an opportunity coming soon.”

Anna Reynolds, Deputy Surveyor of The King’s Pictures, Royal Collection Trust, said:

“We have been delighted to work with the Ferens Art Gallery over the past six years, providing opportunities for the people of Hull to enjoy a range of works from the Royal Collection by artists including Rembrandt, Van Dyck and Holbein.

“This magnificent painting, which usually hangs in the Picture Gallery at Buckingham Palace, is one of Canaletto’s finest works and makes a fitting final loan in what has been an exciting and rewarding partnership.”

Giovanni Antonio Canal (1697-1768), known most commonly as Canaletto, was born in Venice to a family of artists and theatre set designers. He undertook an apprenticeship with his father and brother, and travelled with the former to Rome in 1719 to assist in the creation of sets for two operas by Alessandro Scarlatti, before returning to Venice to pursue a career as an artist.

Canaletto’s earliest signed and dated work is from 1723, and his earlier works are often viewed as his best before his commercial success made him repetitive. His work is known for being precise and he, unusually for the time, would make his work outside, rather than in a studio.

The work will be on display at the Ferens Art Gallery from 20 October – 28 January 2024. 

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