Joseph Mallord William Turner

Loire Barges, near Nantes


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Watercolour, gouache and pen and watercolour on paper
Support: 140 × 192 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCLIX 79

Display caption

From the second half of the 1820s, Turner began to use small pieces of blue paper as a support, both for his finished designs intended for engraving, and for the purpose of making informal sketches. The strong colour of the blue paper proved especially suitable for sky studies, such as those Turner made while exploring the rivers of Europe, and in the park at Petworth in West Sussex.

Gallery label, September 2004

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Catalogue entry

This study of Loire barges, known locally as chalands or gabares, caught in strong winds with Nantes in the distance is one of several depictions of the city and its environs in gouache and watercolour on blue paper which Turner worked up after his 1826 tour of Northern France. It is based on numerous pencil drawings in the Nantes, Angers and Saumur sketchbook; see entry for Tate D23158, D23166, D23181, D23182, D23183, D23184, D23187, D23192, D23193, D23194 (Turner Bequest CCXLVIII 4a, 8a, 16–17a,19a, 22–23).1 It is one of three stylistically comparable works derived from the tour; see also D24726 and D24750 (Turner Bequest CCLIX 161, 185).2
Ian Warrell, Turner on the Loire, exhibition catalogue, Tate Gallery, London 1997, p.220 no.64.
Ibid. p.219 no. 59.
Technical Notes:
The sheet belongs to a batch of lightweight blue paper used by Turner made by George Steart of Bally, Ellen and Steart at De Montault Mill, Coombe Down, Bath.1
Ibid. p.238.
There is a pencil note ‘CCLIX. 79’ in the centre of the sheet and, stamped in black, the Turner Bequest monogram and ‘CCLIX 79’.

John Chu
March 2016

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