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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
The verso of this sheet is attached to the mount.