In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

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Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Graphite on paper
Dimensions
Support: 118 × 78 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D19719
Turner Bequest CCXVI 85 a

Catalogue entry

This is thought to be an example of a so-called ‘carriage sketch’: the rather unruly jottings made by Turner as he was driven in a rickety carriage on bumpy roads. Cecilia Powell simply catalogues this sketch and subsequent drawings (Tate D19717–D19718, D19720; Turner Bequest CCXVI 84a–85, 86) as ‘sketches drawn from a moving carriage’ because of their extremely rough and unsteady handling, though they are most likely views of Luxembourg City’s steep plateaux.
The uppermost sketch is more clearly rendered and shows a fortified ridge with various towers and buildings: this may be the Grund plateau with fortifications to the far left, Neumünster Abbey, the spires of Notre-Dame Cathedral and the tower of Saint Michael to the right.

Alice Rylance-Watson
April 2014

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