Turner carefully worked gouache and watercolour paints over this ink drawing to depict the harbour town of Honfleur, Normandy as seen from the west. The expansive vista carries the eye from the family activity of the foreground, past the densely packed port area, and out to the wide embouchure of the Seine. At the bottom edge of the page particular attention has been paid to the details of the picturesque Lieutenancy Building, one of the harbour’s principal administrative centres. This is one of seven colour studies of Honfleur which Turner worked up around this date with a view to potential publication; see also Tate D24641 (Turner Bequest CCLIX 76), D24649 (Turner Bequest CCLIX 84), D24743 (Turner Bequest CCLIX 178), D24744 (Turner Bequest CCLIX 179), D24747 (Turner Bequest CCLIX 182), D24749 (Turner Bequest CCLIX 184), D29016 (Turner Bequest CCXCII 65). For the finished watercolour see Tate D24700 (Turner Bequest CCLIX 135). All this activity culminated in an engraved illustration for the 1834 volume of Turner’s Annual Tour: Wanderings by the Loire and Seine (1833–5; later reissued as Rivers of France); see Tate impression T04707.
The verso of this sheet is attached to the mount.