Not on display
Once thought to depict a town on the Seine,1 the main sketch on this page in fact depicts the Quai Henry IV of Dieppe Harbour looking towards the old arched bridge that once stood there. Turner’s chief interest, however, is not the architecture but the people who are arranged in groups and busy at various activities. A large group of women at the left is collecting water from a fountain to wash clothes; a scene which bears comparison with figures on folio 5 (Tate D24508; Turner Bequest CCLVIII 5). Beneath them Turner has noted ‘[?]Fountain 14 feet high’. Inscriptions to the right of the sketch refer to the colours of the figures’ costumes.
Ian Warrell has identified this composition as the basis for a watercolour study painted in about 1826 (Tate D20209; Turner Bequest CCXX C), which also incorporated elements from folio 16 and 32 (Tate D24530, D24560; Turner Bequest CCLVIII 16, 32).2 Turner also painted an oil study (once thought to be an Italian subject) based on this composition which includes the framing trees at the right and the group of four figures at the centre of the sketch, as well as a variation on the washer women: Dieppe: The Port from the Quai Henri IV, ?1827–8 (Tate N03385).3 The sketch may continue slightly to the left on folio 12 verso (D23523; Turner Bequest CCLVIII 12a) where it overlaps other sketches. For references to Turner’s other sketches of Dieppe made on this tour, see folio 1 verso (D24501; Turner Bequest CCLVIII 1v).
At the right-hand side of the page, drawn with the sketchbook turned to the left, is a sketch of a group of sailing boats.
Finberg 1909, II, p.786, CCLVIII 13; Guillaud, Alfrey, Wilton and others 1981, p.150 fig.248.
Warrell 1997, p.211 note 11; and Warrell 1999, pp.25, 28, 29, 253 notes 48, 69 and 70, 268 under no.53.
Martin Butlin and Evelyn Joll, The Paintings of J.M.W. Turner, revised ed., New Haven and London 1984, p.179 no.316 as ‘Scene on the Banks of a River’.