The first half of this sketchbook charts Turner's voyage up the Loire from Nantes to Angers, a journey he made on one of the new steamers that had begun to work the river a couple of years before his visit. His sketches generally fall in neat rows down each page, indicating how he struggled to observe and record each new profile of the passing points of interest. On this opening he studied the abbey-church at St-Florent-le-Vieil, later developing two blue studies from the sketches (nos.71 and 114). St-Florent came at the middle of his day's journey, and it was at this point that his steamer would have passed its sister ship coming down the river from Angers.
Gallery label, September 2004