Unusual George III Picture Clock with a view of Santi Giovanni e Paolo, Venice


the engraving of the Basilica dei Santi Giovanni e Paolo fitted with an enamel clock face and mounted within a moulded walnut case with sanded and carved gilt slip containing the pendulum-driven movement; with original working lock and key.

Campo Santi Giovanni e Paolo in Venice, Italy, and the Monument to Bartolommeo Colleoni. Canal Rio dei Mendicanti is in the foreground.  After the original painting by Canaletto.


Height 37 cm (14.5 inches)
Width 50 cm (19.75 inches)
Depth 12 cm (4.75 inches)
English. Circa 1770

The huge Venetian Gothic church of Santi Giovanni e Paolo was the principal Dominican church in Venice, the burial place for doges and other prominent figures of the city. Building began in 1246 and the great dome was added in the fifteenth century; the lunette windows seen here on the west front and south aisle were replaced by circular windows early in the twentieth century. On the left is the fifteenth-century façade of the Scuola Grande di San Marco, one of the most original exteriors in Venice with its polychrome marble and fine sculpture.

The plinth in the centre of the composition, highlighted by the sun, supports a colossal bronze sculpture of Bartolomeo Colleoni, a mercenary general from Bergamo, by the Florentine artist and sculptor Andrea Verrocchio (1435–88). Colleoni bequeathed part of his wealth to the Venetian state on condition that a monument was erected to him in Piazza San Marco, in front of the Basilica. Unable to fulfil this requirement, the Venetians ingeniously chose instead this less important site in front of the Scuola Grande di San Marco, which at least bears the same name.

Canaletto has adjusted the view across the Rio dei Mendicanti so that the west façade of the church is almost full frontal and used another viewpoint so that the bridge on the left and row of houses on the right are all visible; the dome has also been enlarged. The fall of light from the north throwing shadows across the façade and south side of the church is impossible in reality and has been put in and adjusted for dramatic effect: the sharp diagonal shadow across the adjacent Scuola di Sant’Orsola neatly meets the pavement where the Barbaria delle Tole disappears into the distance.


The engraving;

Title: View of Santi Giovanni e Paolo (San Zanipolo), Venice

Series/Portfolio: Prospectum Ædium Viarumque Insigniorum Urbis Venetiarum

Artist: Giovanni Battista Brustolon (Italian, Venice 1712–1796 Venice)

Artist: After Canaletto (Giovanni Antonio Canal) (Italian, Venice 1697–1768 Venice)

Publisher: Lodovico Furlanetto (Italian, active Venice, 1766–1777)

Date: 1763