On the Balcony, Venice

LL 3932


'On the Balcony, Venice' was previously attributed to Richard Parkes Bonington. However, the art historian Patrick Noon suggested in 2006 that it is instead a copy of an untraced oil painting that was part of Bonington's studio sale in 1829 after his death. The oil painting was reproduced in mezzotint by H Quilley (active 1834 - 1835) and also appears in John Frederick Lewis's (1805 - 1876) watercolour 'An Interior' (Tate). There is a version of this watercolour by Bonington in Glasgow Museum and Art Gallery which differs only slightly in colouring, costume and pose to the Lady Lever copy. The costume in this watercolour cannot be assigned to a specific date but the short pleated gown and slashed sleeves of the figure on the right were popular in the 1530s and 1540s. Bonington spent a lot of time in Venice in 1826 and was influenced by the Venetian Renaissance paintings he saw there, particularly their elaborate colouring and expressive technique.