Joseph Mallord William Turner

St-Florent-le-Vieil, Northern France

c.1826–8

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

Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Watercolour and gouache on paper
Dimensions
Support: 144 x 193 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D24574
Turner Bequest CCLIX 9

Display caption

Although they were probably produced around the same time, there could not be a greater contrast between the style of Turner's two views of St-Florent-le-Vieil. The more finished work was produced for the published series, for which it was engraved by the young engraver Robert Brandard. The other view looks much more spontaneous, almost as if Turner has attempted to paint the transforming action of light itself, as it begins to give shape and body to the towers on the hillside. Although it has sometimes been thought to be a study for the other work, its different viewpoint indicates Turner had some other purpose in mind in making it, and in leaving it so unresolved.

Gallery label, August 2004

Catalogue entry

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