Joseph Mallord William Turner

L’Île des Trois Rois from Château Gaillard, Normandy


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 174 × 117 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCLIV 50

Catalogue entry

With sketchbook turned horizontally, Turner filled this page with multiple landscape sketches, apparently describing the terrain around Château Gaillard on the banks of the Seine, Normandy. The bottom left-hand quadrant of the page is inscribed with the view south up the river as seen from the high hills surrounding the castle’s medieval ruins. Particular attention has been paid here to the formation of the river’s meanders and islands, with the long Île des Trois Rois extending to meet the bottom edge of the page. The other sketches, running at right angles to the larger view, are more cursory in handling. Running down the right-hand edge of the page are the outlines of undulating hills, while a small area of densely scribbled lines at top centre is consonant with Turner’s short-hand description of wooded scenery.
Of all the Seine valley sights, the landscape around Château Gaillard and the local villages of Les Andelys were the subject of particular study in this sketchbook. For a list of associated sketches in the volume, see the entry for folio 51 verso (D23982; Turner Bequest CCLIV 51a). For the watercolours of this landmark in the Turner Bequest that the artist worked up with a view to engraved reproduction, see Tate D24678 (Turner Bequest CCLIX 113) and D24692 (Turner Bequest CCLIX 127). These culminated in two engravings in the 1835 volume of Turner’s Annual Tour: Wanderings by the Loire and Seine (1833–5; later reissued as Rivers of France); see Tate impressions T04708 and T04709.

John Chu
July 2014

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