Joseph Mallord William Turner

Fort Charlemont, Saint-Hilaire and the Bridge at Givet, Looking Upstream

1839

In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Graphite on paper
Dimensions
Support: 101 × 168 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D28177
Turner Bequest CCLXXXVIII 6

Catalogue entry

This sketch and that on folio 5 verso (Tate D28176; Turner Bequest CCLXXXVIII 5a) relate to an important and previously unknown gouache of Givet which was discovered at a Sotheby’s sale on 4 December 2008.1
Roughly rendered with loose and abbreviated line, this sketch was taken by Turner looking upstream from close to the arched bridge. The artist has drawn the fortress of Charlemont atop the heights in basic outline with the neighbouring Church of Saint-Hilaire to the right. Turner uses ‘bold loops’ and ‘hatched lines’ to indicate trees on the left and a ‘succession of swift curves’ to suggest beached boats on the riverbank.2 As Cecilia Powell writes, the ‘couple of huge scribbled lines in the sky’ almost certainly represent effects of light or clouds or, possibly, Turner employed them to demarcate ‘a noteworthy change in the colouring of the sky’.3

Alice Rylance-Watson
May 2013

1
Powell 2008, p.20.
2
Ibid.
3
Ibid.

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