Joseph Mallord William Turner

Rouen from Canteleu, Normandy; ?A Bird’s-Eye View of the Seine; ?Church of Saint-Maclou, Pontoise


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 59 a

Catalogue entry

With the sketchbook turned horizontally, Turner filled the central strip of this page with a panoramic view east across the Seine valley from the plateau of Canteleu towards Rouen. The tall towers of the medieval cathedral and can be seen rising above the riverside city towards the centre of the page; the arches of the new Pont d’Angoulême stretch off to the right. For examples of the landscape views of Rouen that Turner worked up with a view to engraved reproduction around this time, see Tate D24672 (Turner Bequest CCLIX 107), D24673 (Turner Bequest CCLIX 108), D24727 (Turner Bequest CCLIX 162), D24811 (Turner Bequest CCLIX 246). These 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. A list of pages in the sketchbook featuring views of Rouen is provided in the entry for folio 60 recto (D23999; Turner Bequest CCLIV 60).
The bottom third of this page also features a long, meandering line, as if to represent the course of the Seine seen from a bird’s eye perspective, and, at the top of the page, a view down a street past a substantial Gothic building. A note apparently reading ‘Pontoise’ accompanies this slight sketch, inverted in relation the main drawing below, perhaps locating this scene near close to the Church of Saint-Maclou at Pointoise, some sixty miles south-east of Rouen. For a comparison, see the view of Pontoise on folio 32 recto (Tate D23943; Turner Bequest CCLIV 32).

John Chu
July 2014

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