Joseph Mallord William Turner

Near Grenoble: Mont Rachais and Mont St Eynard from the River Drac


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Chalk, gouache and graphite on paper
Support: 215 × 285 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest LXXIV 49

Catalogue entry

For Turner’s visit to Grenoble in 1802 see Introduction to the sketchbook.
Finberg listed this as one of a further five drawings associated with this sketchbook which ‘had also been mounted, but have not been exhibited. Their titles, if they had any, have been cut off.’
The identification of the outskirts of Grenoble, first proposed in the 1981 Paris exhibition, has been retained since, the most detailed description being kindly communicated by Roland Courtot of the University of Aix-en-Provence, to correct errors made by the present writer at the time of the 1998 Tate/Martigny exhibition.1 M. Courtot observes that the view is towards Grenoble from the south-west, on the right bank of the River Drac; the mountains are Mont Rachais on the left and Mont St Eynard on the right, and between them the western rampart of the Bastille zig-zags up the slope from the Porte de France beside the River Isère. The Grésivaudan or Valley of Grenoble stretches away to the right. For a closer view of Grenoble from a similar angle see, from this sketchbook, D04508; Turner Bequest LXXV 15 (stamped ‘Y’).
Meanwhile, Butlin and Joll had cited the present drawing in support of the identification by M. Léon Reymond2 of a small painting (Tate N02988)3 as depicting Grenoble from the Drac, with Mont St Eynard and Mont Blanc. The oil was probably painted c.1803.
Email dated 10 February 2012; copy in Tate catalogue files.
Letter, 16 November 1981 in Tate catalogue files.
Butlin and Joll 1984, p.110 no.145a (pl.151).

David Blayney Brown
September 2011

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