Turner worked ink, gouache, and watercolour paints onto this sheet of blue paper to depict the Seine as it flows past the plateau-top village of Canteleu, Normandy. Sail-boats float upstream at the centre of the scene while figures in the foreground strain to the right, apparently dragging one of the vessels ashore. The architectural features on the far bank include the Convent of Sainte-Barbe with its belfry at the water’s edge and the tower of the Church of Saint-Martin rising above the brow of the hill. Art historian Ian Warrell has identified several drawings in the Tancarville and Lillebonne sketchbook as the basis for this composition: see Tate D23844 (Turner Bequest CCLIII 74), D23845 (Turner Bequest CCLIII 74a), D23851 (Turner Bequest CCLIII 77a).1 The existence of the present colour study suggests that Turner considered the subject as an illustration for Turner’s Annual Tour: Wanderings by the Loire and Seine (1833–5; later reissued as Rivers of France) although Canteleu did not make it into this publication in the event. 2
The verso of this sheet is attached to the mount.