Joseph Mallord William Turner

Details of Architecture: Cemetery and the ?Louvre


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

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 123 x 118 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCLVIII 20 a

Catalogue entry

Finberg suggested that these sketches of architectural elements may have been ‘copied from pictures’ in the Louvre,1 though Ian Warrell has suggested that at least some of them may have been based on architecture in the museum. The top sketch, he suggests, may depict the original staircase to the museum designed by Charles Percier and Pierre François Léonard Fontaine which has since been replaced.2 The second sketch depicts a cemetery, probably Père-Lachaise (see folio 28 verso; Tate D24554; Turner Bequest CCLVIII 28a), with a pyramid tomb at the left. The bottom half of the page is filled with three sketches of columns and two plans of part of a room with the arrangement of columns, perhaps also seen at the Louvre. There are related sketches on folio 12 (Tate D24522; Turner Bequest CCLVIII 12). Ian Warrell has noticed that these latter sketches were utilised for a composition sketched on folio 19 verso (Tate D24536; Turner Bequest CCLVIII 19a). See the entry for that page for references to further sketches made by Turner at the Louvre.

Thomas Ardill
February 2013

Finberg 1909, II, p.787, CCLVIII 20a.
Compare to: Auguste Couder, Napoléon Ier visitant l’escalier du Louvre sous la conduite des architectes Percier et Fontaine, 1833, oil painting (Musée du Louvre).

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