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 32 a

Catalogue entry

With the sketchbook turned horizontally, Turner filled much of this page with a view of the gardens and Palace of Versailles, located some twelve miles south-west of central Paris. The sketch is taken from one of the parterres leading to the western flank of the edifice. This latter feature runs along the central section of the page and is inscribed with numbers to indicate the number of windows on each section of façade. Garden sculpture features to the left-hand side of the scene while the royal chapel rises above the rest of the complex of edifices. 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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