With the sketchbook turned horizontally, Turner filled the top half of this page with panoramic views across the hills and bridges of the Seine valley from a high vantage. The artist’s location as he took these sketches is given away by the presence of the Lanterne de Démosthène towards the top left-hand corner; a Napoleonic folly at the Château de Saint-Cloud. Some seven miles west of central Paris, the gardens of this lost seventeenth-century palace afforded impressive prospects back to the city. 1 The large, cursorily drawn edifice towards the bottom of the page may therefore represent some building within the palace complex, or part of the main residence itself. For examples of the watercolours of the riverside landscape around Saint-Cloud which Turner worked up with a view to engraved reproduction around this time, see Tate D24688 (Turner Bequest CCLIX 123), D24689 (Turner Bequest CCLIX 124), and D24697 (Turner Bequest CCLIX 132). These culminated in three engravings in the 1835 volume of Turner’s Annual Tour: Wanderings by the Loire and Seine (1833–5; later reissued as Rivers of France), and a further engraved illustration for a new edition of Walter Scott’s Life of Napoleon Buonaparte (1834–6); see Tate impressions T04739, T05618, T05619, and T05620.
A list of pages in the sketchbook featuring Saint-Cloud is provided in the entry for folio 17 verso (D23914; Turner Bequest CCLIV 17a).
Ian Warrell, Turner on the Seine, exhibition catalogue, Tate Gallery, London 1999, pp.55, 223–8.