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Tue, Sep. 23rd, 2003, 03:23 pm
5500: Guardian: Turner expert's new view of Venice

The new title of the luminous canvas by Turner is, frankly, slightly cumbersome. The picture is now: The Arrival of Louis-Philippe at Portsmouth 8 October 1844 (circa) 1844-5, formerly listed as Festive Lagoon Scene Venice c 1840-5.
If Turner expert Ian Warrell is right those dark shapes in the smoky gold light are not glamourous revellers, jaded with the pleasures of the most beautiful and decadent city in the world, being ferried home at dawn across the Venetian lagoon. They're a bevy of Portsmouth councillors, local dignitaries, layabouts, rubberneckers and riffraff, setting out in a little Armada across the harbour to meet the King of France, Louis-Philippe.