Close to the small town of Oudon Turner came across an apparently ruined ancient fortress. In fact, the towers and terraces he recorded had been created only very recently by a man called Maximilien Siffait, who was an entrepreneur involved in establishing a steamboat service on the river at Nantes. He began work on the riverside follies as a means of employing local labourers, many of whom had been left without work during a period of agricultural hardship. It is estimated he spent 200,000 francs on his follies as a means of keeping fifty families employed. Despite the obscurity of this location, one of Turner's colour sketches proved to be the only Loire scene he developed as an oil .
Gallery label, September 2004
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