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Turner worked gouache and watercolour paints over this ink drawing to depict the Saint-Sever district of Rouen, Normandy on the left bank of the Seine. Passers-by and rows of uniformed figures occupy the elegant avenue in the foreground while, in the distance, the cathedral’s towers and pinnacles rise above city centre. This is one of seven colour studies of Rouen which Turner worked up around this date with a view to potential publication; see Tate D24714 (Turner Bequest CCLIX 149), Tate D24727 (Turner Bequest CCLIX 162), Tate D24787 (Turner Bequest CCLIX 222), Tate D24811 (Turner Bequest CCLIX 246), Tate D24819 (Turner Bequest CCLIX 254), Tate D24822 (Turner Bequest CCLIX 257). Art historian Ian Warrell has identified a pencil sketch in the Dieppe, Rouen and Paris sketchbook as the source for the present study: see Tate D24532 (Turner Bequest CCLVIII 17).1 For the finished watercolours of the city in the Turner Bequest, see Tate D24672–D24674 (Turner Bequest CCLIX 107–109). All this activity culminated in three engravings in the 1834 volume of Turner’s Annual Tour: Wanderings by the Loire and Seine (1833–5; later reissued as Rivers of France); see Tate impressions T05604, T05605, T05607.
Ian Warrell, Turner on the Seine, exhibition catalogue, Tate Gallery, London 1999, p.272.
The verso of this sheet is attached to the mount.