Joseph Mallord William Turner

Rouen, from the South Bank of the River Seine

1821

View this artwork by appointment, at Tate Britain's Prints and Drawings Rooms

Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Graphite on paper
Dimensions
Support: 118 x 123 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D24511
Turner Bequest CCLVIII 6 a

Catalogue entry

This panoramic sketch (continuing slightly to the right on folio 7; Tate D24512; Turner Bequest CCLVIII 7), depicts Rouen from the south bank of the Seine near (but not including) the bridge of boats (see Turner’s later pen and ink sketch on blue paper: Tate D24891; Turner Bequest CCLX 55). As well as the cathedral at the far left of the page, and the spire of St Ouen’s on the continuing page, Turner has paid attention to the many boats crowded along the river banks.
The view, especially of the cathedral, is similar (and indeed, may have informed) Turner’s gouache and watercolour design of Rouen, Looking Downstream, c.1832 (Tate D24673; Turner Bequest CCLIX 108) for Turner’s Annual Tour, 1834 (Tate T05605). See also folio 22 verso (Tate D24542; Turner Bequest CCLVIII 22a) for another sketch of the town from across the Seine. Finberg and others have noted that the cathedral spire as seen in these sketches is in the state prior to its destruction on 15 September 1822, helping to date this tour to 1821.1
For a list of Turner’s sketches of Rouen in this book, see folio 1 (Tate D24500; Turner Bequest CCLVIII 1).

Thomas Ardill
February 2013

1
Finberg 1909, II, p.786, CCLVIII 6a. He also notes CCLVIII 10a and 11a (Tate D24519 and D24521) in relation to the spire.

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