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Turner worked ink, gouache, and watercolour paints onto this sheet of blue paper to depict timber-framed buildings on the River Lézarde at Montivilliers. This small town is situated about seven miles north-east of the port at Le Havre, and is dominated by the Romanesque Church of St-Sauveur. Particular attention has been paid here to the recession of irregular buildings and, in the background, the looming presence of the church’s lantern tower and spire. Women fetch and carry water in the foreground while a water-wheel powers the mill on the left-hand edge of the scene. Art historian Ian Warrell has singled out a drawing in the Seine and Paris sketchbook as the basis for this composition: see Tate D24066 (Turner Bequest CCLIV 93a).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) although Montivilliers did not make it into this publication in the event.2
The verso of this sheet is catalogued under the entry for Tate D40076.