Joseph Mallord William Turner

Granville, Normandy


Not on display

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Watercolour on paper
Support: 190 × 273 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCLXIII 234

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Turner seems to have used the process of making 'colour studies' as a means of establishing how a particular lighting effect would clothe the outline shapes of his topographical material, in a sense allowing light to define form. These loose studies were an interim stage between the pencil sketches he made on the spot and his finished watercolours. For example, this is one of two colour studies showing the coast at Granville in Normandy. Both works are derived from sketches in the 'Coutances and Mt St Michel' sketchbook (TB CCL) and are characterised by the radiant light of sunset falling across the bay. However, despite making a promising start, Turner is not known to have produced a finished watercolour of this view.

Gallery label, September 2004

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