Joseph Mallord William Turner Geneva from the Quai du Mont Blanc 1802

Artwork details

Geneva from the Quai du Mont Blanc
From France, Savoy, Piedmont Sketchbook
Turner Bequest LXXIII
Date 1802
Medium Graphite and watercolour on paper
Dimensions Support: 138 x 215 mm
Acquisition Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest LXXIII 35
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Catalogue entry

For Geneva see especially folio 5 of this sketchbook (D04397), and also folios 39–42 (D04433–D04438). Here, the city with the cathedral of St Pierre is seen at right and Mont Salève in the distance, from a position looking south from the Quai du Mont Blanc. This view of Geneva and the lakeside activity suggested the foreground of the finished watercolour Turner made for Walter Fawkes (Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, Connecticut).1 The trials of blue, yellow and pink watercolour at lower left must have been made as he worked on it with the sketchbook alongside. The sketch on folio 5 was used for the background of the Fawkes watercolour and also has colour trials. This combination of his on-the-spot sketches enabled Turner to develop a composition that set the city beside a larger expanse of water than could really be seen from the Quai. Another version of the finished subject is in the Salar Jung Museum, Hyderabad.2

David Blayney Brown
June 2004

Andrew Wilton, J.M.W. Turner: His Life and Work, Fribourg 1979, p.342 no.370 reproduced.
Ibid., p.343 no.382.

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