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Turner worked gouache and watercolour over this ink drawing to depict the view of Le Havre from the nearby fort of Saint-Adresse in Normandy. As the town sprawls along the coast to the right-hand side of the page, the wide mouth of the Seine and the waters of the English Channel stretch out to the horizon. Particular attention has been paid in the foreground to picturesque effect of an arched gateway bordered by a high copse of richly pigmented trees. Sketches of this town’s harbour infrastructure and surroundings recur frequently in the Seine and Paris sketchbooks and presumably contributed to the conception of this and a further four colour studies on blue paper: these are listed under the entry for Tate D24647 (Turner Bequest CCLIX 82). For a list of these sketchbook drawings, see the entry for Tate D23975 (Turner Bequest CCLIV 48). For the finished watercolours of the town which Turner worked up with a view to engraved reproduction around this time, see Tate D24698 (Turner Bequest CCLIX 133) and D24699 (Turner Bequest CCLIX 134). All this activity culminated a pair of engraved illustrations 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 impressions T05594 and T04699.
The verso of this sheet is attached to the mount.