Joseph Mallord William Turner

Figures in a Barge at ?Rouen; Château Robert-le-Diable, near La Bouille from River

1821

Not on display

Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Graphite on paper
Dimensions
Support: 118 × 123 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D24546
Turner Bequest CCLVIII 24 a

Catalogue entry

Turner has crammed four sketches onto this page. Occupying the top-right corner is a study of an interior scene with a group of seated figures wearing distinctive Normandy caps. Ian Warrell has identified this cramped space with its low beam and sloping sides as the covered area of a barge. A related sketch is drawn across the outer left edge of the page with the sketchbook turned to the right. Here the barge is seen in context, pulled alongside a quay with buildings beyond what Warrell has suggested may be at Rouen.1
These studies have been related stylistically to some of Turner’s later gouache and watercolour studies of figures in interiors, which were made during or after a later French visit: Tate D40080 and D24762 (Turner Bequest CCLIX 263 (b), CCLIX 197).2 Although none of these depicts figures in a barge, one colour study of the interior of a French cottage does include a female seated figure that closely resembles a figure at the centre of the larger sketch on the present page.3
At the bottom half of the page is a sketch of a barge crowded with people making its way down the Seine. The drawing is inscribed with what Finberg has read as ‘Chateau Diable’,4 referring to Château Robert-le-Diable at Moulineaux, the ruin of which can be seen on the hilltop behind the barge. There may be further sketches of or near the château on folio 17 verso (Tate D24533; Turner Bequest CCLVIII 17a).
1
Ian Warrell, Turner Catalogue Files, Tate, CCLVIII 24a.
2
Wilton 1975, p.102 under no.159.
3
Warrell 1997, p.209 note 133.
4
Finberg 1909, II, p.787, CCLVIII 24a.
Technical notes:
The page has several patches of foxing.

Thomas Ardill
February 2013

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