Joseph Mallord William Turner

Rouen Cathedral from the Seine, Normandy


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Gouache and watercolour on paper
Support: 140 × 192 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCLIX 162

Catalogue entry

Turner worked gouache and watercolour paints over this ink drawing to depict the city of Rouen in Normandy as seen from the nearby banks of the Seine. In the foreground, particular attention has been paid to the quayside bustle while, in the distance, the cathedral’s towers and pinnacles rise above the crowded rooftops. This is one of seven colour studies of Rouen which Turner worked up around this date with a view to potential publication; for a list, see the entry for Tate D24655 (Turner Bequest CCLIX 90). Art historian Ian Warrell has identified a pencil sketch from the 1821 journey to France as the source for the present study: see Tate D25519 (Turner Bequest CCLXIII 4a).1 For the finished watercolours of Rouen in the Turner Bequest composed with a view to engraved reproduction, see Tate D24672–D24674 (Turner Bequest CCLIX 107–109). All this activity culminated in three engravings in the 1834 volume of Turner’s Annual Tour: Wanderings by the Loire and Seine (1833–5; later reissued as Rivers of France); see Tate impressions T05604, T05605, T05607.
Ian Warrell, Turner on the Seine, exhibition catalogue, Tate Gallery, London 1999, p.271–2.
Technical notes:
The verso of this sheet is attached to the mount.

John Chu
August 2014

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