Joseph Mallord William Turner

Monument to Lafayette before Les Invalides, Paris


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 175 × 127 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCLVII 159 a

Catalogue entry

With the sketchbook turned horizontally, Turner filled this page with studies of the seventeenth-century military complex of Les Invalides in Paris. At the centre of the page is featured the fountain recently rededicated to General Lafayette.1 The notes scattered along the bottom of the page and in the top right-hand corner are only semi-legible although they presumably record the dedicatory inscription of the monument (no longer extant). The legible fragments read: ‘Au Citoyens du Vieux Monde’, ‘Au Genéral de Chef de la Garde National’, ‘L’Ami et de Washington et de Philippe 1er’, ‘Le Patriots de 89 et de 1830’. Turner made several sketches of Les Invalides in the present volume, a list of which is provided in the sketchbook Introduction. The existence these drawings and a closely related watercolour study (Tate D24572; Turner Bequest CCLIX 7) suggests that Turner considered the subject as an illustration for Turner’s Annual Tour: Wanderings by the Loire and Seine (1833–5; later reissued as Rivers of France) or the new edition of Walter Scott’s Life of Napoleon Buonaparte (1834–36) although Les Invalides did not make it into either publication in the event.2

John Chu
January 2015

Étienne Charavay, Le Général La Fayette, 1757–1834, Paris 1898, p.525
W[illiam] G[eorge] Rawlinson, The Engraved Work of J.M.W. Turner, R.A., London 1908, . vol.II, pp.264–76 nos.453–92, 288–92 nos.525–39.

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