Joseph Mallord William Turner

The Châtelet Fountain, Paris

c.1833

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Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Gouache and watercolour on paper
Dimensions
Support: 141 x 191 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D24602
Turner Bequest CCLIX 37

Catalogue entry

Turner worked gouache and watercolour paints onto this sheet of blue paper to depict Napoleon’s columnar Châtelet Fountain, located on right bank of the Seine at Paris. The turrets of the Conciergerie can be seen in the middle distance and, beyond these, the towers of the Cathedral of Notre-Dame. Art historian Ian Warrell has identified a drawing in the Paris and Environs sketchbook as the basis for this composition: see Tate D24482 (Turner Bequest CCLVII 160a).1 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) or the new edition of Walter Scott’s Life of Napoleon Buonaparte (1834–36), although the monument did not make it into either publication in the event.2
1
Ian Warrell, Turner on the Seine, exhibition catalogue, Tate Gallery, London 1999, p.272.
2
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, 288–92 nos.525–39.
Technical notes:
The verso of this sheet is attached to the mount.

John Chu
August 2014

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