Joseph Mallord William Turner

Château Gaillard from the West, Normandy

1832

In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Graphite on paper
Dimensions
Support: 174 x 117 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D23988
Turner Bequest CCLIV 54 a

Display caption

Many of Turner's designs for the two volumes of 'The Rivers of France' charting the course of the Seine are based on studies made on a tour to France in 1832. This sketchbook contains a sequence of slight and rapid studies of Château Gaillard, revealing Turner to be less concerned with amassing information than with examining the various pictorial possibilities of the site. The study on folio 55 was adapted for one of the finest illustrations he made for the series (no.32).

Gallery label, January 1992

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Catalogue entry

With the sketchbook turned horizontally, Turner filled much of this page with a view up to Château Gaillard from the base of its steep eminence. The ruins of the twelfth-century fortifications are seen a little to the west at which point the Seine flows north past the nearby villages of Les Andelys.
Of all the Seine valley sights, Château Gaillard and Les Andelys were the subject of particular study in this sketchbook. For a list of associated sketches in the volume, see the entry for folio 51 verso (D23982; Turner Bequest CCLIV 51a). For the watercolours of this landmark in the Turner Bequest that the artist worked up with a view to engraved reproduction, see Tate D24678 (Turner Bequest CCLIX 113) and D24692 (Turner Bequest CCLIX 127). These culminated in two engravings in the 1835 volume of Turner’s Annual Tour: Wanderings by the Loire and Seine (1833–5; later reissued as Rivers of France); see Tate impressions T04708 and T04709.

John Chu
July 2014

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