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Before travelling up the Meuse, Turner made an excursion from Liège to Spa which took him past the ruined medieval castle of Franchimont, the stronghold of William de la Marck, the 'Wild Boar of the Ardennes', whose dire exploits are described in Sir Walter Scott's novel 'Quentin Durward'. Turner's five gouache studies, showing Franchimont from different stages of his journey, have stylistic and colouristic elements in common but each has its own special mood. In no.109 he suggests a pearly dawn with the castle just catching the first rosy light of morning; no.111 is bristling with Romantic energy; while nos.112-113 enjoy a lighter mood.

August 2004