Joseph Mallord William Turner

Harfleur and the Road to Lillebonne, Normandy


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Gouache and watercolour on paper
Support: 140 × 192 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCLIX 196

Catalogue entry

Turner worked gouache and watercolour paints over this ink drawing to depict a view across Harfleur, Normandy from an eastern vantage. The spire of the Church of Saint-Martin rises above the town while the waters of the wide embouchure of the Seine and, beyond that, the English Channel spread out towards the horizon. In the foreground, horses heave a carriage up the hillside on the road Lillebonne with figures looking on. Art historian Ian Warrell has identified a pencil sketch in the Tancarville and Lillebonne sketchbook as the source for the present study: see Tate D23704 (Turner Bequest CCLIII 3a).1 For the finished watercolour on this subject which Turner worked up for engraved reproduction, see Tate D24667 (Turner Bequest CCLIX 102). All this activity culminated in two engravings for the 1834 volume of Turner’s Annual Tour: Wanderings by the Loire and Seine (1833–5; later reissued as Rivers of France); see Tate impressions T05596 and T05601.
Ian Warrell, Turner on the Seine, exhibition catalogue, Tate Gallery, London 1999, p.270.
The top left-hand corner of the sheet is inscribed with the pencil note ‘8’. The centre of the page is inscribed in pencil with the note ‘33 ?G’, and also stamped in black with the Turner Bequest monogram and the number ‘CCLIX – 196’. The bottom right-hand corner is inscribed with the pencil note ‘CCLIX. 196’.

John Chu
August 2014

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