Joseph Mallord William Turner

Coastal View of Harfleur


Not on display

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 107 × 156 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCLIII 10 a

Catalogue entry

The page contains two sketches, both drawn horizontally. The sketches are views of rocky coastline with indications of buildings. In the upper sketch, Turner concentrates on conveying the shapes of the structure of the rocky land but also records the outline of the tower at topmost left.
The lower sketch has been drawn with the page turned upside down, and with slightly looser and fainter strokes than the upper sketch. Finberg recorded this page simply as ‘Houses, &c., on river-banks’,1 but the locations of Honfleur and Harfleur have been confirmed.2 These towns are located on opposite banks of the River Seine. Their names are of Viking origin, with ‘Harfleur’ meaning ‘the high port’, and Honfleur, ‘the low port’.3 The shape of the church tower at top centre of this sketch corresponds to that of the Church of Saint-Martin, Harfleur (for further information on the church, see under folio 2 verso; D23702).
Finberg 1909, II, p.768.
?Ian Warrell, ‘Turner on the Seine: Topographical Index’, c.1999, Prints and Drawings Room, Tate Britain (printout in copy of Ian Warrell, Turner on the Seine, exhibition catalogue, Tate Gallery, London 1999), p.3.
‘Les origines: de la préhistoire aux Vikings’,, accessed 10 February 2017,
Technical notes:
There is a small, sweeping stain, residue of some liquid, at centre far left of the page. Below this there is a thumbprint. A further two thumbprints appear at bottom centre.

Caroline South
May 2017

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