The sketches in this book begin at Dieppe, but are chiefly concerned with Rouen. Throughout the book the cathedral is shown as it looked after it had lost its spire, which was destroyed by lightning in 1822. In the majority of the sketches Turner examined the impact of the stunted spire from the surrounding country, especially favouring the popular viewpoint of Sainte Catherine's Hill. Apart from its recently altered appearance, he was almost certainly drawn to the cathedral as a result of seeing it depicted earlier in 1826 by the young David Roberts. Turner is known to have admired Roberts' of the great west front, which was his first exhibit at the Royal Academy.
Gallery label, September 2004