Joseph Mallord William Turner

Rouen Cathedral, Normandy


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Gouache and watercolour on paper
Support: 140 × 191 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCLIX 222

Catalogue entry

Turner worked gouache and watercolour paints over this ink drawing to depict a view of Rouen Cathedral, Normandy rising above the densely packed buildings of the city. With the imposing Portail de Calende on the right-hand side of the scene, the Rue du Change leads the eye towards the Tour de Buerre on the edifice’s western façade. 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 of these, see the entry for Tate D24655 (Turner Bequest CCLIX 90). Art historian Ian Warrell has identified a pencil sketch in the earlier Dieppe, Rouen and Paris sketchbook as the source for the present study: see Tate D24516 (Turner Bequest CCLVIII 9).1 For the finished watercolours of Rouen in the Turner Bequest, 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.272.
The bottom right-hand corner of the sheet is inscribed with the pencil note ‘D24787’. A note in red ink, also in the bottom right-hand corner, is mostly obscured by the mount.

John Chu
August 2014

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