Joseph Mallord William Turner

Franchimont and the Bridge over the Hoëgne at Marché de Theux


In Tate Britain

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Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Gouache, pen and ink and watercolour on paper
Support: 144 × 193 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCXXIII D

Catalogue entry

In this gouache Turner depicts the ruins of the medieval castle of Franchimont and the village of Marché de Theux. The castle dominates the valley from atop a soaring perpendicular cliff, appearing impenetrable ‘like a square of brickwork without any loopholes’, as Robert Southey wrote.1 Turner colours the cliff and Franchimont’s bulwark-like masonry in arresting shades of gold and ochre gouache to contrast the rather dreary monochrome palette used for the village below.
At Marché, the square tower of the Basilica of Saints Hermes and Alexander can be seen towards the left, snuggly situated amongst a nucleus of houses and buildings. The River Hoëgne and the Pont de Marché are at centre, both rendered in translucent washes of chilly mauve-grey. A road peopled with locals and a horse-drawn carriage is visible at bottom right.
This gouache is derived from pencil drawings in the Spa, Dinant, and Namur sketchbook (Tate D28096–D28098; Turner Bequest 28a–30) and possibly from earlier drawings on loose sheets of blue wove paper dating to c.1826 (Tate D20312–D20313, D20383; CCXXIV 22–3, 87).
Southey quoted in Powell 1991, p.167 no.110.
Inscribed in pencil ‘3 [?b]’ at centre towards right; stamped with Turner Bequest monogram and ‘CCXXIII D’ at bottom left and inscribed in pencil ‘CCXXIII D’ at bottom right.

Alice Rylance-Watson
June 2013

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