Joseph Mallord William Turner

Saint-Cyr-l’École, Île-de-France


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 175 × 127 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCLVII 21 a

Catalogue entry

With the sketchbook turned horizontally, Turner filled much of this page with views of the environs of Saint-Cyr-l’École, located some twelve miles south-west of central Paris. A third sketch runs vertically down the right-hand edge of the page. When this sketch was taken, the École Spéciale Militaire de Saint-Cyr, founded by Napoleon in 1802, was housed in the grand building in the centre of the page. Turner made numerous sketches of these environs in the present volume, a list of which is provided in the sketchbook Introduction. The existence of these studies suggests that Turner considered Saint-Cyr-l’École as a subject for an illustration for a new edition of Walter Scott’s Life of Napoleon Buonaparte (1834–36) although it was not included in the publication in the event.1

John Chu
January 2015

W[illiam] G[eorge] Rawlinson, The Engraved Work of J.M.W. Turner, R.A., London 1908, vol.II, pp.264–76 nos.453–92, 288–92 nos.525–39.

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