Joseph Mallord William Turner

Ruins of Lillebonne Roman Amphitheatre and Lillebonne Castle


Not on display

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 107 × 156 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCLIII 43 a

Catalogue entry

The page contains a sketch, drawn horizontally, of ruins in a landscape. Finberg noted it simply as ‘Ruins’,1 but the location has been identified as Lillebonne.2 The rugged, semi-circular sweep which runs across the centre of the page is recognisable from its shape as the remains of the Roman amphitheatre at Lillebonne. The successive small horizontal lines towards the left correspond to layers of eroded bricks. (For further information on the amphitheatre see under folio 34 recto; D23764).
The building at top left is identifiable from its shape and position as Lillebonne castle. (For further information on the castle see under folio 29 recto; D23754.) Turner’s watercolour, Lillebonne, The Château from above the Roman Amphitheatre, c.1832 (Tate D24676; Turner Bequest CCLIX 111),3 which was engraved for Turner’s Annual Tour Wanderings by the Seine, 1834 (Tate impression: T04703), depicts a slightly different viewpoint but gives some indication of the relative positions of castle and amphitheatre. Art historian Andrew Wilton states that the watercolour was based on sketches in this sketchbook.4
Finberg 1909, II, p.769.
?Ian Warrell, ‘Turner on the Seine: Topographical Index’, c.1999, Prints and Drawings Room, Tate Britain (printout in copy of Ian Warrell, Turner on the Seine, exhibition catalogue, Tate Gallery, London 1999), p.3.
Andrew Wilton, J.M.W. Turner: His Life and Work, Fribourg 1979, p.413 no.959, reproduced.
Ibid., under no.959.
Technical notes:
There is a slight brownish stain towards the upper left of the page.

Caroline South
May 2017

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