Joseph Mallord William Turner

Mont Saint-Michel, Normandy


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Watercolour on paper
Support: 178 × 258 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCLXIII 256

Display caption

Turner travelled through Normandy and Brittany in 1826 at a time when the region was beginning to attract artists interested in the relationship of its architecture to that of England. The focal point of most tours was Mont St Michel, a casket-like architectural gem seemingly floating in the middle of the surrounding bay. Turner's watercolours of the island stress its fantastic, mirage-like qualities at the expense of giving precise details.

Gallery label, August 2004

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Catalogue entry

This is one of a batch of colour sketches of the island of Mont Saint-Michel off the coast of Normandy which Turner worked up from material gathered on his 1826 tour of Northern France. A list of the pencil studies of that landmark is provided in the Introduction to the Cherbourg, Coutances and Mont St Michel sketchbook.1
The verso, a colour study of a sweeping beach before a large rock is depicted in yellow, grey and blue watercolour (D40144).

John Chu
March 2016

Ian Warrell, Turner on the Loire, exhibition catalogue, Tate Gallery, London 1997, p.161.

Read full Catalogue entry


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