Joseph Mallord William Turner

Brest, Brittany


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 105 × 167 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCXLVII 16 a

Display caption

This book covers Turner's journey from Morlaix, on the north coast of Brittany, to Nantes, near the estuary of the Loire. It does not seem that he made many sketches between Mont St-Michel and his arrival in Morlaix. Those that can be identified are his annotations on his map of Brittany (no.10). Perhaps because of unsettled weather, his method of sketching was not as attentive and careful as on earlier tours, at least until he got as far as Nantes. For example, given the slightness of this sketch of the harbour at Brest, it is remarkable that Turner should have thought of using it as the basis for the large oil painting hanging nearby (no.99).

Gallery label, September 2004

Does this text contain inaccurate information or language that you feel we should improve or change? We would like to hear from you.

Catalogue entry

With the sketchbook turned horizontally, Turner filled this page with a study of the castle and harbour in the Brittany town of Brest. Tate curator Ian Warrell has suggested that Turner used this sketch when devising an unfinished oil painting in the Turner Bequest; see Tate N05514. 1 Brest features on multiple pages in this part of the volume, a list of which is included in the sketchbook introduction.

John Chu
September 2015

Ian Warrell, Turner on the Loire, exhibition catalogue, Tate Gallery, London 1997, p.231; Martin Butlin and Evelyn Joll, The Paintings of J.M.W. Turner, revised ed., New Haven and London 1984, p.528 no.527, pl. 511.

Read full Catalogue entry

You might like