Joseph Mallord William Turner

Pont-de-l’Arche

c.1833

In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Gouache and watercolour on paper
Dimensions
Support: 140 × 191 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D24677
Turner Bequest CCLIX 112

Display caption

Most of the other artists who painted the river crossing at Pont-de-l'Arche made it an excuse for picturesque depictions of the ramshackle old bridge (that by Gendall is on display in a showcase in the first room of the exhibition, downstairs). Turner, on the other hand, chose to ignore the mills lining the bridge, even though he had recorded them on the spot in 1829, and instead produced a distinctly modern-looking structure. In following the road to Paris from Rouen, Pont-de-l'Arche is the next town of any note encountered by the traveller. However, in the published sequence of the 1835 *Annual Tour*, this view was placed after the views of Château Gaillard and Vernon, which are further upstream.

Gallery label, August 2004

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Catalogue entry

Engraved:
By J.T. Willmore in 1834, published in 1835.
In this watercolour, Turner depicts figures resting in the shade of trees, with the arched bridge at the town of Pont de l’Arche, in northern France, spanning the River Seine in the background. A laden carriage and horses are shown on the road in the mid-ground at left. A gleaming sun is depicted at upper right, its reflection shining in the water below, and its white light picking out the right-hand side of the bridge, the tower of the Church of Notre-Dame-des-Arts left of centre, and the right edge of the milestone in the foreground. With only a few tiny strokes of paint, Turner hints at boats and figures on the river at far right. The impression conveyed by the scene is of rest from activities on a hot day.
The watercolour is based on pencil sketches (Tate D23859–D23863; Turner Bequest CCLIII 81a–83a) in Turner’s Tancarville and Lillebonne sketchbook,1 believed to date from 1829 .
An engraving was made of this watercolour by J.T. Willmore in 1834 as Pont de l’Arche (Tate impression T04711) for the volume Wanderings by the Seine of 1835.2
1
Warrell 1999, p.276.
2
Leitch Ritchie, Wanderings by the Seine, London, Paris and Berlin 1835, opposite p.88.
Verso:
Blank, except for an inscription ‘1’ in the top left corner and ‘Pont L’Arche’ at the centre of the sheet, both written in red gouache and probably by Turner. The numeral ‘3’ has also been inscribed in black ink, and below this again in pencil, in the top left corner. At the lower right of the sheet ‘6 [?L] has been noted in pencil. The lower centre of the sheet is stamped in black with the Turner Bequest monogram above the number ‘CCLIX – 112’, which is also written in pencil above. There is a black ink stain at top left.

Caroline South
November 2017

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