Joseph Mallord William Turner

Château Gaillard from the South (Vignette)

c.1833

In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Gouache and watercolour on paper
Dimensions
Support: 195 × 140 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D24692
Turner Bequest CCLIX 127

Catalogue entry

Engraved:
By John Cousen in 1834, published in 1835.
In this vignette watercolour, a moonlit scene emerges from the blue background paper, with Château Gaillard in northern France rising up on the right. The castle is depicted from the south and Turner picks out its craggy surface in delicate tones of salmon pink as if illuminated by the rosy hue of a sun rising from the west, whilst the lower left side of the cliff remains in contrasting lilac shadow. Against the still and calm water, a line of men curve with the exertion of tugging the boat at right. Another boat is silhouetted in the distance at left, beneath the slim tower of the Church of Saint-Sauveur reaching up into the sky, in the village of Les Andelys. Turner was aware that the village beneath the castle was the birthplace of the renowned seventeenth-century French artist Nicholas Poussin, and in another vignette watercolour, Nicolas Poussin’s Birthplace: Château-Gaillard and Les Andelys, 1830–32 (Indianapolis Museum of Art),1 depicted Poussin sketching below the castle.2
The watercolour is based on the many pencil sketches of the castle (Tate D23959–D23995; Turner Bequest CCLIV 40–58,3 and in particular D23988–D23989; Turner Bequest CCLIV 54a, 55)4 in Turner’s Seine and Paris sketchbook of 1832, and a pen and ink sketch, The River Crossing below Château Gaillard, ?1827 (Tate D24849; Turner Bequest CCLX 13).5
An engraving was made of this watercolour by John Cousen in 1834 as Château Gaillard from the South (Tate impressions T04708, T05612 and T06245), as the frontispiece for the volume Wanderings by the Seine of 1835.6
1
Wilton 1979, p.419 no.1006, reproduced.
2
Krause 1997, p.172.
3
Wilton 1979, p.414.
4
Lyles 1992, p.61.
5
Warrell 1999, p.276.
6
Leitch Ritchie, Wanderings by the Seine, London, Paris and Berlin 1835, frontispiece.
Verso:
Blank, except for an inscription reading ‘1679 19 Oct.33’ with some further illegible inscriptions ascending vertically upwards at lower left of the sheet, in white chalk. ‘13a[?]’ appears to have been written in pencil at upper right. The lower centre is stamped with the Turner Bequest monogram above the number ‘CCLIX – 127’, which is also written in pencil below. There is some dark blue ink staining at the lower left and right corners.

Caroline South
November 2017

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