Joseph Mallord William Turner

Lillebonne Castle and the Town, with the Church of Notre-Dame


Not on display

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 107 × 156 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCLIII 41 a

Catalogue entry

The page contains a rough sketch, drawn horizontally, of a castle on a hill, overlooking a town whose church tower is visible on the left. Finberg noted it simply as ‘Ruined castle’,1 but art historian Ian Warrell states2 that this drawing (as well as folio 40 recto; D23777) was the preliminary sketch for Turner’s watercolour, Lillebonne, The Château from above the Roman Amphitheatre, c.1832 (Tate D24676; Turner Bequest CCLIX 111),3 which was engraved for Turner’s Annual Tour Wanderings by the Seine, 1834 (Tate impression: T04703), although the church is not depicted in the watercolour. The Lillebonne location has also been confirmed elsewhere.4
Although conveyed in only in a few simple lines, the shapes and positions of the castle buildings and church tower make them identifiable as Lillebonne castle and the Church of Notre-Dame, Lillebonne. (For information on the castle, see under folio 29 recto, D23754; and for the church, under folio 28 recto; D23752.) The darker pencil strokes of some of the trees at left may be indicative of Turner’s extra efforts to capture their particular shape, or accidental.

Caroline South
May 2017

Finberg 1909, II, p.769.
Warrell 1999, p.274 no.124.
Andrew Wilton, J.M.W. Turner: His Life and Work, Fribourg 1979, p.413 no.959, reproduced.
?Ian Warrell, ‘Turner on the Seine: Topographical Index’, c.1999, (manuscript located in Warrell 1999), Tate Britain Prints and Drawings Rooms, p.3.

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