Turner depicts the town of Melun as it might have been seen by travellers arriving from Paris by steamer. One of these boats is moored alongside the island in the middle distance, its chimney silhouetted against the glowing morning sky. Turner claimed to prefer to study the light of dawn rather than that of sunset because he was able to contemplate an effect for longer without it diminishing. As in the case of his Loire images, many of the Seine views, including this one, have been wrongly identified in the past as evocations of sunset.
Gallery label, June 1999