Joseph Mallord William Turner

Marly

c.1829–30

On loan

Centro Cultural Palacio la Moneda (Santiago, Chile): Turner Watercolours

Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Watercolour on paper
Dimensions
Support: 362 x 512 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D25152
Turner Bequest CCLXIII 30

Catalogue entry

Finberg thought the subject of this ‘colour beginning’ was ‘An Italian lake’.1 However, Andrew Wilton recognised it2 as a study for an early 1830s watercolour (British Museum, London),3 engraved as Marly for the 1832 edition of the annual Keepsake (Tate impressions: T05108, T06147); see the Introduction to this section. The watercolour, and this study by association, have often been referred to as ‘Marly-sur-Seine’, although the commune is officially Marly-le-Roi, and lies on a bend of the River Seine on the western outskirts of Paris. The view is downstream northwards to where the river bends to the right at Saint-Germain-en-Laye, the subject of a companion design in the 1832 Keepsake; see under D40520.
The source of the design was recognised by Wilton in a detailed drawing in pen and ink over pencil on blue paper (Tate D24894; Turner Bequest CCLX 58),4 one of a number in that mode which Warrell has placed at about ‘?1827–9’.5 Turner travelled along the Seine in 1821, 1826, 1828, 1829 and 1832.6 The 1834 Keepsake design known as The Palace of La Belle Gabrielle also shows a Marly subject, looking in the other direction; see under D25169 and D36329 (Turner Bequest CCLXIII 47, CCCLXV 38).
Wilton noted that the ‘abrupt termination of the design at the left suggests that it was perhaps modelled on the watercolour and did not precede it’;7 however, he did not speculate as to the purpose of such an exercise, and there seems no reason to doubt that this sheet formed part of the exploratory process leading to the finished work. In the loose patches and strokes of colour towards the bottom right, there is already a sense of the brightly dressed figures on the shore and in boats in the finished design. The slanting shafts of sunlight through the dim foliage of the avenue on the left there are prefigured by a dark diagonal band against the golden yellow of the distance at the corresponding point here, along with parallel strokes suggesting the tree-trunks’ shadows against the low wall along the bank.
1
Finberg 1909, II, p.816.
2
See Wilton 1975, p.110; see also Wilton 1979, p.424, Wilton 1982, p.54, Shanes 1997, pp.29, 97, 99, and Sloan 1998, p.122.
3
Wilton 1979, p.424 no.1047, pl.205.
4
See Wilton 1975, p.110, Wilton 1979, p.424, Wilton 1982, p.53, Sloan 1998, p.122, and Warrell 1999, p.216.
5
See Warrell 1999, pp.266–8 nos.23–44.
6
See Ian Warrell, ‘Seine’ in Evelyn Joll, Martin Butlin and Luke Herrmann (eds.), The Oxford Companion to J.M.W. Turner, Oxford 2001, p.289.
7
Wilton 1975, p.110; see also Alfrey 1981, p.527.

Matthew Imms
March 2017

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