Joseph Mallord William Turner

Château Gaillard, Normandy


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Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 174 x 117 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCLIV 45

Catalogue entry

With the sketchbook turned horizontally, Turner filled much this page with descriptions of the ruins of Château Gaillard, perched on its steep eminence some one hundred metres above the Seine. Sketches from a low vantage of the twelfth-century castle keep, complete with its scalloped encircling wall, occupies the top right and left-hand corners of the page. Special attention has been paid on the right-hand side to the winding of a steeply ascending flight of steps, terminating in one of the fortress’s heavily defended portals. In the bottom right-hand corner are described the remnants of the outer bailey with its stout round towers. The bottom right-hand quadrant features a wide view of the surrounding terrain with the river meandering off to a hilly horizon.
Of all the Seine valley sights, Château Gaillard and the local villages of Les Andelys were the subject of particular study in this sketchbook. For a list of associated sketches in the volume, see the entry for folio 51 verso (D23982; Turner Bequest CCLIV 51a). For the watercolours of this landmark in the Turner Bequest that the artist worked up with a view to engraved reproduction, see Tate D24678 (Turner Bequest CCLIX 113) and D24692 (Turner Bequest CCLIX 127). These culminated in two engravings 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 impressions T04708 and T04709.

John Chu
July 2014

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