This sketch forms part of a view of Auxerre, a town on the Yonne river in the Burgundy (Bourgogne) region of France. Turner passed through on his return journey from Italy in January 1820. The artist’s viewpoint is from the road to the east, with the river running across the foreground and the Gothic cathedral of Saint-Étienne dominating the background beyond. The composition continues on the opposite sheet of the double-page spread, see folio 95 verso (D16867; Turner Bequest CXCIII 94a). Further views of Auxerre can be seen on folio 96 verso (D16871), and in the Return from Italy sketchbook (Tate D16727; Turner Bequest CXCII 44).
Also on this page is part of a written note by the artist concerning a painting by Claude Lorrain, Pastoral Landscape with Castel Gandolfo, 1639 (Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge).1 Turner also made a rough pencil copy of the picture which he saw in the Palazzo Barberini, Rome, see folio 81 (D16848; Turner Bequest CXCIII 80). The inscription, first transcribed by Finberg,2 reads as follows:
Distance which is not as well as usual | the water indistinct and not blue | but of the color of the distance
This is the final part of a larger sequence of notes which commence on folio 97 (D16870; Turner Bequest CXCIII 96). See this entry for a general discussion of Turner’s comments.
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