Joseph Mallord William TurnerRouen: A View from the Left Bank in the Faubourg St-Sever ?1827-8

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Rouen: A View from the Left Bank in the Faubourg St-Sever
Date ?1827-8
MediumOil paint on canvas
Dimensionssupport: 603 x 987 mm frame: 780 x 1155 x 67 mm
Acquisition Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
On display at Tate Britain

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This was once thought to be a view of Italy, perhaps the garden of a Roman villa. It is now known to be based on a small jotting in a sketchbook Turner used while travelling through northern France.

In place of the towers of Rouen cathedral, Turner has introduced a patch of watery sunlight that contrasts with the foreground shadows. The reclining figures are taken directly from the sketchbook drawing. However, they also recall the pastoral scenes of Antoine Watteau, an eighteenth-century artist whose work particularly interested Turner in the 1820s and 1830s.

February 2010

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