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Turner worked gouache and watercolour paints onto this sheet of blue paper to depict the view upstream along the Seine as it flows past the city of Rouen, Normandy. Above the multiple arches of the Stone Bridge and the pontoon Bridge of Boats rises the nearby hill of Mont Sainte-Catherine. The city’s port buildings to the left-hand side of the scene have been achieved by leaving a triangle of ‘reserved’ paper. This is one of seven colour studies of Rouen which Turner worked up around this date with a view to potential publication; for a list of these, see the entry for Tate D24655 (Turner Bequest CCLIX 90). Art historian Ian Warrell has identified a pencil sketch in the earlier Tancarville and Lillebonne sketchbook as the source for the present study: see Tate D23853 (Turner Bequest CCLIII 78a).1 For the finished watercolours of Rouen in the Turner Bequest, see Tate D24672–D24674 (Turner Bequest CCLIX 107–109). All this activity culminated in three engravings in the 1834 volume of Turner’s Annual Tour: Wanderings by the Loire and Seine (1833–5; later reissued as Rivers of France); see Tate impressions T05604, T05605, T05607.
Ian Warrell, Turner on the Seine, exhibition catalogue, Tate Gallery, London 1999, p.272.
The bottom right-hand corner of the sheet is inscribed with the pencil note ‘CCLIX 246’. A red ink note in the bottom left-hand corner is mostly obscured by the mount.