Joseph Mallord William Turner

Paris; Saint-Cloud, Île-de-France


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 174 × 117 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCLIV 17

Catalogue entry

With the sketchbook turned horizontally, Turner filled the upper right-hand quadrant of this page with a panoramic view across Paris from a high vantage. The two west towers of the Cathedral of Notre-Dame are just visible at the centre of the scene. It is unclear whether the buildings perched on a rocky eminence on the left-hand side of the page form the foreground to this wide vista or record another location. One possible location for this scene is suggested by the two long arched bridges featured towards the bottom right-hand corner of the page, inverted in relation to the sketches above. These are the Ponts de Saint-Cloud and de Sèvres, which traverse the Seine some seven miles west of central Paris where picturesque hills afford with impressive views back to the city. 1 For examples of the watercolours of the riverside landscape around Saint-Cloud which Turner worked up with a view to engraved reproduction around this time, see Tate D24688 (Turner Bequest CCLIX 123), D24689 (Turner Bequest CCLIX 124), and D24697 (Turner Bequest CCLIX 132). These culminated in three engravings in the 1835 volume of Turner’s Annual Tour: Wanderings by the Loire and Seine (1833–5; later reissued as Rivers of France), and a further engraved illustration for a new edition of Walter Scott’s Life of Napoleon Buonaparte (1834–6); see Tate impressions T04739, T05618, T05619, and T05620.
A list of pages in the sketchbook featuring Saint-Cloud is provided in the entry for folio 17 verso (D23914; Turner Bequest CCLIV 17a).

John Chu
July 2014

Ian Warrell, Turner on the Seine, exhibition catalogue, Tate Gallery, London 1999, pp.55, 223–8.

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