Joseph Mallord William Turner

Caudebec-en-Caux from across the Seine, Normandy


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

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Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Gouache and watercolour on paper
Support: 136 × 193 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCLIX 253

Catalogue entry

Turner worked gouache and watercolour paints over this ink drawing to depict Caudebec-en-Caux, Normandy as viewed from across the Seine. River-going vessels float in the foreground while the spire of the Church of Notre-Dame rises above the rooftops of the town, here achieved in white chalk.1 As the view continues up into the surrounding uplands, the blue and green paints of the hillsides have been allowed to bleed together and subsequently accented with white. Sketches of Caudebec and its church recur frequently in the Guernsey and Seine and Paris sketchbooks and presumably contributed to the conception of this and two further colour studies in the Turner Bequest; see Tate D20235 (Turner Bequest CCXXI B) and D24760 (Turner Bequest CCLIX 195). For lists of the sketchbook drawings, see the entries for Tate D23550 (Turner Bequest CCLII 17) and D24029 (Turner Bequest CCLIV 75). For the finished watercolour of Caudebec which Turner worked up with a view to engraved reproduction around this time, see Tate D24670 (Turner Bequest CCLIX 105). All this activity culminated in an engraving in 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 T05601.
See Maurice Dragon, L’église Notre-Dame de Caudebec-en-Caux, Luneray 1997.
Technical notes:
A thin margin of darker blue paper around the edges of this sheet indicates damage from prolonged exposure to light. The verso is attached to the mount.

John Chu
August 2014

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