Joseph Mallord William Turner

Sketches at Tournus on the River Saône


Not on display

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 114 × 185 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CLXXIII 23

Catalogue entry

This page contains several studies relating to Tournus, a town on the River Saône in the Burgundy region of France.1 Turner appears to have arrived at the town from the river and the two uppermost sketches both depict views seen from the approach to the north, travelling in the direction of Mâcon. The larger of the drawings includes the bridge and the Benedictine Abbey of St Philibert, whilst the smaller, in the top left-hand corner, is taken from slightly further south and shows the twelfth-century Church of St Madeleine. The page also contains a study of the architectural features of one of the arches of the bridge. For a general description and further sketches of Tournus see folio 22 (D14024).
In the bottom right-hand corner there are two thumbnail sketches of a man and a woman in local costume. The female figure wears a black hat angled on one side of her head, a characteristic detail of the regional dress, as described by contemporary guidebooks. For example, author William Coxe noted that:
The costume of the women of Macon and its neighbourhood is pretty, but singular. It consists of a blue cloth petticoat, with a border of deep red, a jacket of the same, and a small felt hat worn over one side of the head only, displaying a neat little white cap, and all the dressing of the hair; on entering a church they take off their small hat, and carry it in their hands. It is a very pleasing sight on a Sunday, or a fête day, to see so many pretty faces all habited in the same fanciful costume.2
Further studies of Mâcconaise costume can be seen on folio 27 verso (D14031).
First identified within Guillaud, Alfrey and Wilton 1981, p.110.
William Coxe, Galignani’s Travellers Guide through France, Paris 1819, p.62.

Nicola Moorby
February 2013

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