This spectacular watercolour is one of Goodwin's largest works on paper and is certainly one of his most daring compositions. In conception it is reminiscent of a similar view of Venice in oil seen on the artist's easel in one of the most well-known photographs of the artist circa 1920 (see Hammond Smith, Albert Goodwin, R.W.S., Leigh-on -Sea, 1977, pl. 1). Although he did execute watercolours on the spot, Goodwin painted a great many of his watercolours from recollections and so the date of 1901 does not necessarily relate to a visit to Venice in that year. In 1901 Goodwin ceased to write in his journal for a year and commenced again in January 1902 with his trip to the West Indies.
It was in 1872 that Goodwin first travelled to Venice in the company of John Ruskin, who after Ford Madox Brown, completed Goodwin's artistic education. Ruskin introduced Goodwin to the work of J.M.W. Turner and after their first tour together the late work of Turner became a source of inspiration to Goodwin. The present watercolour recalls the warm tones of Turner's Venetian views, but Goodwin also adds to the composition experimental techniques with very broad scratching out, stopping out and bodycolour to capture the multitude of texture in this composition, from water to rigging, smoke to shafts of light.
The present view includes the Doges Palace and the Campanile and domes of San Marco to the right of the composition, Santa Maria della Salute to the right of the setting sun and the island of San Giorgio to the right of the right of the composition.