Joseph Mallord William Turner

Louviers: the south facade of the Church of Notre Dame


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Gouache, pen and ink and graphite on paper
Support: 139 × 190 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCLX 4

Catalogue entry

This sheet is one of a series of sketches associated with a tour of the Seine with a proposed dating of 1827–9. The studies are characterised by the use of pen and ink on blue paper; for more information see the Introduction to this section.
The attraction of Louviers, a thriving manufacturing town in Normandy, was primarily the Church of Notre-Dame: the church’s south façade and porch form important examples of late Gothic architecture. As the art historian Ian Warrell has noted, Turner’s interest in the church saw him work from similar viewpoints as other artists attracted to the church at Louviers, including Samuel Prout (1783–1852) and John Sell Cotman (1782–1842).1 This sheet is one of the sketches to concentrate on the south façade of the building. Turner has denoted the spectacular details of the façade in ink on a blue paper support, using white highlights in the foreground to bring a bustling scene of urban life to the forefront of the composition.
A number of other studies on blue paper showing the Church of Notre-Dame at Louviers are catalogued within this section (Tate D24902, D24909, D24950, D24962, D24967; Turner Bequest CCLX 66, 73, 114, 126, 131). Turner also made two studies of the church’s interior (Tate D24851–D24852; Turner Bequest CCLX 15–16).
Ian Warrell, Turner and the Seine, London 1999, p.193.
Technical notes:
The originally blue paper around the image is now very discoloured, presumably the result of past light exposure.
The sheet has been laid down on a heavy paper and the verso could not be checked at the time of cataloguing.

Elizabeth Jacklin
October 2018

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