Joseph Mallord William Turner

Château de Versailles, Île-de-France


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 175 × 127 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCLVII 12

Catalogue entry

With the sketchbook turned horizontally, Turner filled much of this page with drawings of the façades of the Château de Versailles, located some twelve miles south-west of central Paris. The sketch along the central strip of the page depicts the north wing of the Cour de Mabre (marble courtyard) at the heart of the palace. The structure towards the top right-hand corner of the page is the apse of the Baroque royal chapel. Turner made numerous sketches of the palace in the present volume, a list of which is provided in the sketchbook Introduction. The existence of so many studies suggests that Turner considered Versailles as a subject for an illustration for a new edition of Walter Scott’s Life of Napoleon Buonaparte (1834–36) although it was not included in the publication in the event.1

John Chu
January 2015

W[illiam] G[eorge] Rawlinson, The Engraved Work of J.M.W. Turner, R.A., London 1908, vol.II, pp.264–76 nos.453–92, 288–92 nos.525–39.

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