Joseph Mallord William Turner

Les Invalides from the Champs de Mars, Paris

c.1833

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Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Gouache and watercolour on paper
Dimensions
Support: 140 x 192 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D24572
Turner Bequest CCLIX 7

Catalogue entry

Turner worked gouache and watercolour paints onto this sheet of blue paper to depict the seventeenth-century military complex of Les Invalides, Paris as seen from the nearby Champs de Mars. As the façade of the domed edifice looms in the background, lines of soldiers are being drilled at the foot of the General Lafayette monument. Art historian Ian Warrell has identified a drawing in the Paris and Environs sketchbook as the basis for this composition: see Tate D24480 (Turner Bequest CCLVII 159a).1 The existence of the present colour study suggests that Turner considered the subject as an illustration for Turner’s Annual Tour: Wanderings by the Loire and Seine (1833–5; later reissued as Rivers of France) or the new edition of Walter Scott’s Life of Napoleon Buonaparte (1834–36) although Les Invalides did not make it into either publication in the event.2
1
Ian Warrell, Turner on the Seine, exhibition catalogue, Tate Gallery, London 1999, p.272.
2
W[illiam] G[eorge] Rawlinson, The Engraved Work of J.M.W. Turner, R.A., London 1908, vol.II, pp.264–76 nos.453–92, 288–92 nos.525–39.
Technical notes:
The verso of this sheet is attached to the mount.

John Chu
August 2014

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