Joseph Mallord William Turner

Franchimont and the Valley of the Hoëgne

c.1839

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

Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Gouache, pen and ink and watercolour on paper
Dimensions
Support: 137 x 190 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D20269
Turner Bequest CCXXII J

Catalogue entry

This gouache is based on two pencil drawings in the Spa, Dinant, and Namur sketchbook of 1839 (Tate D28100–D28101; Turner Bequest CCLXXXVII 31–31a). Turner took these sketches as he crossed the Hoëgne River at Marché de Theux, Belgium, walking up the hillside to look at the remains of the medieval castle of Franchimont from a closer perspective. The solitary ruin is depicted here on a stormy autumnal afternoon atop a burnt ochre hillside, the sky sombre and heavy with slate-grey cloud. Franchimont Castle dates back to the eleventh century and was constructed for the Principality of Liège. 1 The aristocratic La Marck family then added outer walls, casemates and an artillery tower in the early sixteenth century.2
As Cecilia Powell writes, ‘Among Turner’s five gouaches of Franchimont’ the present drawing ‘is the one which best captures the aspect of the ancient ruin which appealed to the Romantic imagination of the early nineteenth century’.3 The chateau, for example, featured in Sir Walter Scott’s Marmion; A Tale of Flodden Field (1808). Turner had, on a number of occasions, been engaged to produce designs and vignettes for Scott’s published work; perhaps the artist had the poet in mind when he himself drew inspiration from the castle in 1839. See also Tate D20266, D20280, D20289, D24732; Turner Bequest CCXXII J, U, CCXXIII D, CCLIX 167.
1
‘Le Château’, Château de Franchimont, accessed 31 July 2014, http://www.chateau-franchimont.be
2
Ibid.
3
Powell 1991, p.168 no.111.
Verso:
Stamped in black with Turner Bequest monogram and ‘CCXXII–J’ at bottom left; inscribed in pencil ‘6’ at centre towards right; inscribed in pencil ‘CCXXII J’ at bottom right.

Alice Rylance-Watson
June 2013

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