Joseph Mallord William Turner

Bridge of St-Cloud from Sèvres


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Gouache and watercolour on paper
Support: 140 × 191 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCLIX 124

Catalogue entry

By Samuel Fisher in 1834, published in 1835.
In this watercolour, Turner presents a view over the river Seine from Sèvres, looking down over the bridge at Saint-Cloud, both locations being towns in the western suburbs of Paris, France. The title1 suggests that the bridge in the foreground is the bridge at Saint-Cloud; however, the tip of the island visible in the lower right corner corresponds to the Seguin Isle (Île Seguin, later home to the Renault factory but here a boatyard) making the bridge in the foreground that at Sèvres, and the bridge in the background that at Saint-Cloud. The river meanders away into the distance; buildings perch on the hills. With simple touches of watercolour, gouache and pen, Turner conveys the buildings on the riverbank at central foreground and indicates light falling over the buildings at right and over the island whilst the areas behind remain in shadow. He includes figures on high rocky ground in the left corner which enhances the sense of height and distance of the rocks above the river. The light, bright colours of the landscape suggest it is morning.
The watercolour is based on pencil sketches (Tate D244572 and D24454;3 respectively Turner Bequest CCLVII 148, 146a) from Turner’s Paris and Environs sketchbook from 1832, as well as another (Tate D24552; Turner Bequest CCLVIII 27a) 4 in the Dieppe, Rouen and Paris sketchbook from 1821.
An engraving was made of this watercolour by Samuel Fisher in 1834, as Bridge of St. Cloud from Sèvres (Tate impressions T04718, T05620 and T06256) for the volume Wanderings by the Seine of 1835.5 The Lanterne monument at Saint-Cloud, only barely hinted at by Turner in the watercolour, has been clearly defined in the print, at the top of the hill at upper left.
There are related inscriptions on the verso (D40126).

Caroline South
November 2017

See Wilton 1979, p.416.
Ibid.; Warrell 1999, p.277.
Warrell 1999, p.277.
Leitch Ritchie, Wanderings by the Seine, London, Paris and Berlin 1835, opposite p.158.

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