On loan

Mystic Seaport Museum (Mystic, USA): Turner Watercolours

Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Gouache and watercolour on paper
Dimensions
Support: 139 x 191 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D24696
Turner Bequest CCLIX 131

Catalogue entry

Engraved:
By J.C. Armytage in 1833, published in 1834.
In this watercolour, Turner depicts a group of figures in a boat on the river Seine in northern France. In just a few strokes of light-coloured gouache Turner evokes Jumièges Abbey, gleaming dramatically against the surrounding dark sky and the dark vegetation at right. The ships indicated in the background at far left and the smooth water create a sense of stillness, which is threatened by the dark tones and sweeping cloud shapes of the brooding sky. Waves seem to have picked up in the lower left foreground and the boat and its passengers seem precarious. However, there is a hint of a rainbow across the sky, suggesting the storm has passed. A church tower is visible beyond the trees at far right.
Art historians have proposed that the watercolour was based on a sketch (Tate D23815; Turner Bequest CCLIII 59a)1 from Turner’s Tancarville and Lillebonne sketchbook, believed to date from 1829, although this sketch in fact shows a differing scene of figures in the foreground aboard a steamship with the other side of abbey in the distance. Art historian Ian Warrell states that this southern viewpoint of Jumièges has no direct counterpart in the sketchbooks, as most of Turner’s views of Jumièges show it from the north, or west, and the viewpoint may arise from a sketch (Tate D24018; Turner Bequest CCLIV 69a) in Turner’s Seine and Paris sketchbook of 1832.2
An engraving was made of this watercolour by J.C. Armytage in 1833 as Jumeges (sic; Tate impression T05602) for the volume Wanderings by the Seine of 18343 (titled ‘Jumieges’ in the ‘List of Engravings’). The figures and boat at right are depicted with much greater clarity in the engraving.
1
Wilton 1979, p.413; Lyles 1992, p.59.
2
Warrell 1999, p.275.
3
Leitch Ritchie, Wanderings by the Seine, London, Paris and Berlin 1834, opposite p.98.
Verso:
Blank, except for an inscription ‘14’ in black gouache in the upper right corner of the sheet, probably made by Turner. The lower right of the sheet is inscribed with a pencil note reading ‘16 a’. The lower centre of the sheet is stamped with the Turner Bequest monogram above the number ‘CCLIX – 131’, which is also written in pencil above, at centre of the sheet.

Caroline South
November 2017

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