Joseph Mallord William Turner

Group of Figures; Figures on a Riverside Road among Hills; Dinant, Looking Downstream from the Quay by the Town Hall

1839

In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Graphite on paper
Dimensions
Support: 94 x 154 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D28042
Turner Bequest CCLXXXVII 1

Catalogue entry

Turner has produced three separate sketches on this sheet, all orientated at differing positions relative to the foliation. There is a small group of figures at the bottom right and a separate group, orientated inversely, surrounded by the summarily delineated hills. Running parallel to the gutter of the sketchbook is a landscape drawing of the town of Dinant on the banks of the Meuse in the province of Namur, Belgium. On the right rises the ‘Roche à Bayard’, a monolith comprised of two parts, one of which is surmounted by a citadel built in the eleventh century to defend the Meuse valley and later rebuilt in 1820 during the Dutch occupation.1 Next to the Roche is the Collegiate Church of Notre-Dame, rebuilt in the Gothic style on Romanesque foundations in 1227; Turner has rendered the contours of its celebrated onion dome and lantern.2 Across the bridge is a spired building, possibly a church or hall, which no longer stands. Turner has swiftly sketched figures at the banks of the river, some embarking or disembarking from small boats.
The artist has inscribed brief annotations to record various colours in the view, such as ‘Sky good blue’ or ‘2 W [presumably meaning ‘white’] Clouds’.
For other views of Dinant in this sketchbook see Tate D28094, D28122, D28125, D28142, D28147, D28153, D28155–D28158, D28160–D28166, D41091; Turner Bequest CCLXXXVII 27a, 42a, 44a, 53, 56a, 59a, 60a–62a, 63a–66a. There are also colour sketches of the town produced in gouache on blue paper between 1834–9, some with pen and ink and watercolour added (Tate D20227, D20228, D24724, D28984; Turner Bequest CCXX T, U; CCLIX 159, CCXCII 37).
For earlier views of Dinant see Tate D19556–D19663, D20109–D20113; Turner Bequest CCXVI 53a–57, CCXVII 16–19.

Alice Rylance-Watson
April 2013

1
‘Dinant’, Eupedia: Belgium Guide, http://www.eupedia.com/belgium/dinant.shtml, accessed 15 April 2013.
2
Ibid.

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