View this artwork by appointment, at Tate Britain's Prints and Drawings Rooms
These are intricately rendered studies of architectural details which Turner found on buildings in the Belgian city of Liège. Turner visited Liège at the beginning and towards the end of his tour on 13 August and 4 September. The central building, identified by the rusticated masonry around its entrance, gives onto the Meuse. The quayside walls are directly before it, and a small figure can be seen walking down the steps to the water’s edge.
At right is a study of the façade of the Maison Curtius, constructed in the first years of the seventeenth century in the Mosan Renaissance style.1 It was built as the city home of Jean de Corte, a wealthy Liégeois merchant and industrialist. Turner has suggested some of the façade’s alternating layers of red brick and narrow bands of pale grey stone as well as its cross-mullioned windows. The tiny forms jotted at top left may well be the decorative masks which adorn the front of the Maison Curtius facing the river. These masks take the form of various subjects: portraits of people, fantastical creatures, animals, as well as religious and satirical scenes.2
‘Le Palais Curtius et la Résidence de Jean Curtius’, Grand Curtius Liege, accessed 6 November 2014, http://www
.grandcurtiusliege .be /histoire -et -architecture /lilot -et -ses -batiments /le -palais -curtius -et -la -residence -de -jean -curtius