This sketch and the one on the following folio (Tate D28101; Turner Bequest 31a) formed the basis for a gouache, pen and ink and watercolour drawing of Franchimont and the valley of the Hoëgne river (Tate D20269; Turner Bequest CCXXII J). The present sketch, Cecilia Powell writes, ‘provided the general composition of the castle perched on its hill above the valley, but the compact and sturdy shape of the castle in the gouache is taken from f.31v [31a]’.1 Both pencil sketches ‘were drawn as Turner crossed the Hoëgne at Marché de Theux and walked up the hillside to look at the castle at close quarters’.2 The artist made records of the three heraldic shields carved on the entrance portal later on in the sketchbook (Tate D28102; Turner Bequest CCLXXXVII 32).
Powell writes that among Turner’s five gouaches of the castle it is this particular one ‘which best captures the aspect of the ancient ruin which appealed to the Romantic imagination of the early nineteenth century’. Powell points out that the artist ‘had recently been engaged in illustrating the works of Sir Walter Scott’ and was ‘probably familiar’ with the passage in the introduction to the sixth canto of Marmion (Poetical Works, vol.vii, p.301) in which Scott retells the story of the ancient treasure of Franchimont guarded by the devil.3
For other views of Franchimont Castle in this sketchbook see Tate D28095–D28099, D28103–D280104; Turner Bequest CCLXXXVII 28–30a, 32a–33. For colour studies of it produced in gouache, pen and ink and watercolour on blue paper see Tate D20266, D20269, D20280, D20289, D24732; Turner Bequest CCXXII G, J, U, CCXXIII D, CCLIX 167.