Joseph Mallord William Turner

Rumilly: Buildings by the River Néphaz


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Chalk, gouache and graphite on paper
Support: 275 × 212 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest LXXIV 39

Catalogue entry

There are three labels inscribed ‘Romilly’, one from the parcel inscribed by John Ruskin ‘Titles of Smaller Swiss Series’ (see Introduction to the sketchbook) and two more kept loose. Rumilly, between Aix-les-Bains and Annecy, was one of the few places Turner stopped to draw between Grenoble and Geneva on his tour in 1802. He shows the old town on a bluff between the Rivers Chéran and Néphaz. The subject was first recognised by John Ruskin, as he told his father in a letter from Annecy on 4 September 1858:
As I was looking over the map, before starting for Bonneville, my eye fell on the name of one of Turner’s towns, which I had in vain hunted everywhere for (Rumilly), at about 12 miles from here, on the French side. I ordered a couple of horses directly, and away I went at half-past ten, through the loveliest country imaginable; found my town, or village rather, all right – Turner’s tower, mill wheel, and bridge, all touched (the mill wheel very rotten, luckily left because mill itself ruined) – sketched tower, which was all I wanted, and back here to dinner at five.1
Hill notes that the tower still stands today and that there is a good view of from the bridge taking the Geneva road out of the town.
Two more drawings from the Grenoble series (D04887 and D04889; Turner Bequest LXXIV 94, 96) can be identified as of Rumilly.
Cook and Wedderburn XIII, 1904, p.609.
Laid down

David Blayney Brown
September 2011

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