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Gouache drawing - Ghetto


  • Object:

    Gouache drawing

  • Place of origin:

    Venice (city) (painted)

  • Date:

    2004 (painted)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Robb, Carole (artist)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Gouache drawing

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Jane Mankiewicz

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, level H, case WD, shelf 49, box B

Carole Robb is one of a number of talented British artists who studied at the British School in Rome during the 1970s. Like Stephen Farthing (b.1950) and Christopher Le Brun (b.1951), she rejected abstraction in favour of a figurative style informed by old master painting. This drawing is part of a group of fourteen works (E.3719 to 3732-2004) that illustrate Robb's journey through Rome to Tivoli, and the Veneto, that she undertook in 2003/4. As such, it constitutes a contemporary uprise to the V&A's numerous Grand Tour watercolours of Italy, dating from the 18th and early 19th centuries.

This gouache drawing employs blue and green shades to represent a large canal in Venice’s ‘ghetto’ quarter. Layers of paint suggest the thick stagnant consistency of the water. Dark watery tones of the picture and the small square of sky in the top left imply a night-time scene. The only sign of human presence are the twinkling lights shining from windows of buildings in the top left corner. These tiny windows and the small block of visible sky convey the dark light in this densely built area in what was the exceptionally crowded Ghetto of Venice. Venice’s ghetto was originally the site of the city’s iron foundries, known as ‘getti’ or ‘geto ‘, from which the word ‘ghetto’ originates. Venice’s large Jewish population was segregated to this area in 1516. After the defeat of the Republic in 1797, Napoleon abolished Jewish segregation in Venice.

Physical description

Gouache drawing, view of a canal in Venice with a gondola and houses in the background

Place of Origin

Venice (city) (painted)


2004 (painted)


Robb, Carole (artist)

Materials and Techniques

Gouache drawing

Marks and inscriptions

'Robb 2004'
signed in pencil


Height: 25.4 cm, Width: 35.4 cm

Descriptive line

Gouache drawing, view of canal in Venice, with gondola, by Carole Robb


Gouache; Paper

Subjects depicted

Water; Gondolas


Drawings; Transport


Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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