Joseph Mallord William Turner Figures around a Carriage in a Town Square 1839

Artwork details

Figures around a Carriage in a Town Square
Date 1839
Medium Graphite on paper
Dimensions Support: 101 x 168 mm
Acquisition Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCLXXXVIII 29
View this artwork by appointment, at Tate Britain's Prints and Drawings Rooms

Catalogue entry

Here Turner captures a scene in a town square with a small crowd congregated by a carriage. The subject matter recalls a preparatory sketch in the Spa, Dinant and Namur sketchbook of 1839, depicting travellers waiting for a diligence in Brussells (Tate 28044; Turner Bequest CCLXXXVII 2). Turner has inscribed ‘Change de Logement’ (French for ‘change of accommodation’ or a ‘move to different lodgings’) at the bottom of the drawing. This annotation may shed light on the activities depicted in this drawing: perhaps the figures are moving from one place to another with their luggage and wares or perhaps Turner is noting his own transition from one lodging to another. The tall building with gabled roof in the background also bears similarities to the traditional architecture of Thionville, a French city on the banks of the Moselle situated fifteen miles from the border with Luxembourg. Thionville is shown on this folio’s verso: Tate D28224; Turner Bequest CCLXXXVIII 29a.

Alice Rylance-Watson
May 2013

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