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Turner worked gouache and watercolour paints over this ink drawing to depict the busy quayside at Honfleur, Normandy. The wooden spires of the Church of Sainte-Catherine rise up behind the picturesque structure of the port’s Lieutenancy Building, one of the town’s principal administrative centres. This is one of seven colour studies of Honfleur which Turner worked up around this date with a view to potential publication; these are listed under the entry for Tate D24580 (Turner Bequest CCLIX 15). Art historian Ian Warrell has identified a pencil sketch in the earlier Tancarville and Lillebonne sketchbook as the source for the present study: see Tate D23732 (Turner Bequest CCLIII 18).1 For Turner’s finished watercolour of Honfleur, see Tate D24700 (Turner Bequest CCLIX 135). All this activity culminated in an engraved illustration for the 1834 volume of Turner’s Annual Tour: Wanderings by the Loire and Seine (1833–5; later reissued as Rivers of France); see Tate impression T04707.
Ian Warrell, Turner on the Seine, exhibition catalogue, Tate Gallery, London 1999, p269.
The centre of the sheet is marked with a pencil note reading ‘CCLIX . 84’. The centre also bears the Turner Bequest monogram and ‘CCLIX 84’ stamped in black. There is a brown smudge in the bottom right-hand corner.