Joseph Mallord William Turner

Honfleur, Normandy from the West


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

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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 178

Catalogue entry

Turner worked gouache and watercolour paints over this ink drawing to depict a view across the port of Honfleur in Normandy from the west. The wooden spires of the Church of Sainte-Catherine rise up on the brow of the hill while sailing vessels cluster around the harbour mouth. Dark-toned paints in blue, purple and russet have been allowed to bleed into one another at the centre of the scene to rich colouristic effect. This is one of seven colour studies of Honfleur which Turner worked up around this date with a view to potential publication; these are listed under the entry for Tate D24580 (Turner Bequest CCLIX 15). Art historian Ian Warrell has identified pencil sketches in the Tancarville and Lillebonne sketchbook as the source material for the present study: see especially Tate D23736 (Turner Bequest CCLIII 20).1 For the finished watercolour on this subject worked up with a view to engraved reproduction, see Tate D24700 (Turner Bequest CCLIX 135). All this activity culminated in an illustration 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 impression T04707.
Ian Warrell, Turner on the Seine, exhibition catalogue, Tate Gallery, London 1999, p.269.
Technical notes:
The verso of this sheet is attached to the mount.

John Chu
August 2014

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