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Turner worked gouache and watercolour paints onto this sheet of blue paper to depict the medieval buildings at Gisors, a town located some twenty-five miles east of the Seine as it flows past Les Andelys. On the extreme left-hand edge of the page can be glimpsed the base of the castle’s donjon while the Tour du Prisonnier, connected by a rampart to the Tour du Gouverneur, occupies the central passage. On the right-hand side of the page, the Collegiate Church of Saint-Gervais and Saint-Protais can be seen faintly in the distance.
Sketches of Gisors recur frequently in the Seine and Paris sketchbook of around this date, and appear to have contributed to the conception of this colour study and two pencil sketches on blue paper: see Tate D25007 (Turner Bequest CCLXI 35) and D25009 (Turner Bequest CCLIX 37). For a list of the sketchbook drawings, see the entry for Tate D23962 (Turner Bequest CCLIV 41a). The existence of the present colour study suggests that Turner considered the subject as an illustration for Turner’s Annual Tour: Wanderings by the Loire and Seine (1833–5; later reissued as Rivers of France) although Gisors did not make it into this publication in the event.1
W[illiam] G[eorge] Rawlinson, The Engraved Work of J.M.W. Turner, R.A., London 1908, vol.II, pp.264–76 nos.453–92.
The verso of this sheet is catalogued under the entry for Tate D40104.