Joseph Mallord William Turner

Orléans Cathedral, Loire Valley


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 153 × 103 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCXLIX 32 a

Display caption

Many of the pencil sketches in this and two other sketchbooks used on Turner's 1826 journey up the Loire relate to the coloured drawings worked up for the 1833 publication, 'Turner's Annual Tour - the Loire'. This drawing is typical of many in his sketchbooks, where an architectural fragment has caught his eye and is scrutinised and recorded in detail. Such studies as this came in useful when completing the more finished colour designs and when advising his engravers about particular details in their work.

Gallery label, August 2004

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Catalogue entry

Turner filled this page with details of the cathedral at Orléans. The spire over the crossing is featured on the left-hand side of the page and the southern tower on the right.1 This is one of a substantial number of sketches of the city and its environs in this volume, a list of which is provided in the sketchbook introduction. Turner subsequently used these drawings as the basis for multiple colour studies and finished watercolours on blue paper with a view to engraved reproduction. These culminated in a printed illustration for Turner’s Annual Tour: Wanderings by the Loire and Seine (1833–5; later reissued as Rivers of France);2 see Tate impression T04679.

John Chu
May 2015

Ian Warrell, Turner on the Loire, exhibition catalogue, Tate Gallery, London 1997, p.237.
Luke Herrmann, Turner Prints: The Engraved Work of J.M.W. Turner, Oxford 1990, pp.171–83.

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