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This is one of a number of watercolours in the Turner bequest, drawn with the brush alone, which show the arrival of King Louis-Philippe of France at Portsmouth, on his state visit to Britain. Turner had known him at Twickenham when he was in exile many years before, and the two men kept in touch. He travelled to Portsmouth to see his friend arrive aboard the 'Gomer', which he shows here surrounded by a throng of small boats. The lack of detail gives something of the feel of frenetic activity and celebration of the huge crowd which greeted Louis-Philippe. He later travelled to Windsor Castle where he was lavishly entertained by Queen Victoria and invested as a Knight of the Order of the Garter.

August 2004