Joseph Mallord William Turner

Basilique Saint-Denis, Paris


View this artwork by appointment, at Tate Britain's Prints and Drawings Rooms

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 175 x 127 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCLVII 153

Catalogue entry

With the sketchbook turned horizontally, Turner filled the upper left-hand quadrant of this page with a study of Saint-Denis, located some five miles north of central Paris. The basilica’s western face, with its north tower still intact, appears at the end of the nearby street. A second view of the church rising above surrounding rooftops runs down the right-hand edge of the page. Architectural ornaments have been drawn along the bottom edge of the page. This volume includes several studies of this edifice, a list of which is included in the sketchbook Introduction. For the watercolour of the subject which Turner worked up with a view to engraved reproduction around this time, see Tate D24686 (Turner Bequest CCLIX 121). This led to an illustration in the 1835 volume of Turner’s Annual Tour: Wanderings by the Loire and Seine (1833–5; later reissued as Rivers of France); see Tate impression T04715.

John Chu
January 2015

Read full Catalogue entry