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Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Gouache and watercolour on paper
Support: 142 × 194 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCLIX 115

Catalogue entry

By William Radclyffe in 1834, published in 1835.
In this watercolour, Turner depicts figures at dusk on a bank of the River Seine in the town of Mantes-la-Jolie, in north-central France. The town’s two-towered Collegiate Church of Notre-Dame is shown at right, above the old multi-arched bridge at left spanning the water. With simple washes of watercolour, touches of white gouache, and pen, Turner indicates town buildings on the right. He conveys the rosy last light of day as emanating from a setting sun, catching the solitary Saint-Maclou tower at far right. A touch of the delicate pink hue scatters around the rooves and upper storeys of the buildings surrounding the base of the tower and is echoed on the lower roof at centre of the church as well as in its twin towers. As sunlight departs to the right, a bright moon is shown rising on the left, illuminating the clouds around it. Turner depicts activity at the end of the day. Boats are indicated on the river. Figures in the foreground are shown drawing in their fishing nets (more apparent in the engraving noted below), folding linen, and others sitting, perhaps waiting for a boat.
There does not appear to be an identifiable preliminary sketch.
An engraving was made of this watercolour by William Radclyffe in 1834 as Mantes (Tate impressions T04712 and T06250) for the volume Wanderings by the Seine of 1835.1
There are related inscriptions on the verso (D40122).

Caroline South
November 2017

Leitch Ritchie, Wanderings by the Seine, London, Paris and Berlin 1835, opposite p.104.

Read full Catalogue entry

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