View this artwork by appointment, at Tate Britain's Prints and Drawings Rooms
In this drawing Turner pictures the Belgian city of Louvain and its Grote Markt or main square. Two of the city’s most celebrated civic and ecclesiastical monuments are shown here, their architectural splendour rendered to full effect. At left is the fifteenth-century town hall bathed in a brilliant golden light, and at right, the Brabantine Gothic Church of St Peter. The former building is illuminated with radiant corn-yellow gouache, its architectural elements delineated in brown ink. By contrast, St Peter’s is cast in shadow, drawn in black ink and painted with a translucent veil of palest yellow. The Grote Markt square is peopled with swiftly wrought figures: a milkmaid with a carrying pole, clutches of bystanders chatting, and traders with carts and wheelbarrows selling their wares.
The colouring is similar to another gouache of Louvain (Tate D20263; Turner Bequest CCXXII D) and one of the main square at Brussels (Tate D24784; Turner Bequest CCLIX 219). The scene is based on a pencil drawing in the Spa, Dinant, and Namur sketchbook of 1839 (Tate D28047; Turner Bequest CCLXXXVII 3a).
There is some foxing on the verso, perhaps water damage.
Inscribed in pencil ‘CCLIX 25’.