Joseph Mallord William Turner

Bridges of St-Cloud and Sèvres


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Gouache and watercolour on paper
Support: 141 × 193 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCLIX 123

Catalogue entry

By J. Radclyffe in 1834, published in 1835.
In this watercolour, Turner presents a view over a meander of the River Seine, crossed by the multi-arched bridges of Saint-Cloud and of Sèvres, towns in the western suburbs of Paris, France. With simple touches of watercolour and gouache he evokes the river sweeping through the landscape, spanned by the bridge of Saint-Cloud in the left mid-ground, and that of Sèvres in the distance at right, before curving around away across the land into the far distance at left. In the foreground, figures with baskets for picking fruit sit and stand. At far right, one is shown climbing steps, basket on his back. Turner infuses the image with warm light. A soft yellow light falls diagonally from the top right corner, over the river immediately below, and in warm russet tones picks out the edge of the tree right of centre and the hillside below it, before illuminating the vineyard in the left foreground with touches of gold.
The watercolour is based on pencil sketches (mainly Tate D245401 as well as D24548;2 respectively Turner Bequest CCLVIII 21a, 25a) in Turner’s Dieppe, Rouen and Paris sketchbook  from 1821 and another (Tate D23903; Turner Bequest CCLIV 12) in his Seine and Paris sketchbook3 from 1832.
An engraving was made of this watercolour by J. Radclyffe in 1834, as Bridges of St. Cloud and Sèvres (Tate impressions T04716, T05618 and T06254) for the volume Wanderings by the Seine of 1835.4
There are related inscriptions on the verso (D40125).

Caroline South
November 2017

Wilton 1979, p.415; Warrell 1999, p.277.
Wilton 1979, p.415.
Warrell 1999, p.277.
Leitch Ritchie, Wanderings by the Seine, London, Paris and Berlin 1835, opposite p.152.

Read full Catalogue entry


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