Joseph Mallord William Turner

Sketches on the Banks of the Seine near La Bouille, below Rouen, Showing the Château Robert-le-Diable


Not on display

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 123 × 118 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCLVIII 17 a

Catalogue entry

Finberg listed these five sketches of the Seine as having been made near the commune of La Bouille about eleven miles south-west of Rouen, and as depicting the Château Robert-le-Diable.1 This makes these the first identifiable sketches that Turner made on the Seine after leaving Rouen on a boat bound for Le Havre.2 Ian Warrell also listed these sketches as depicting the château in his Turner on the Seine catalogue, although his unpublished catalogue notes are more tentative about the identification.3 On the hillside at the top right of the top sketch is the outline of a ruined building that may indeed be the château, making this a view looking east up-river from the bend of the river at La Bouille.
The second sketch depicts a large vessel below the banks of the Seine. The hillside is dotted with buildings and there is a windmill above the mast of the boat. The same vessel may be depicted in the sketch beneath though from slightly further away. There is a windmill on the hillside at the top left of the sketch. Beneath it the hillside is inscribed ‘chalk’. Patches of chalk cliff can indeed be seen between denser patches of foliage above La Bouille. The fourth sketch was drawn from near the shore with buildings and a distant tower that may be the château. The final sketch, drawn right into the page gutter, depicts a barge approaching with the river banks beyond.
There may be another sketch of the Château Robert-le-Diable on folio 24 verso (Tate D24546; Turner Bequest CCLVIII 24a), among other sketches.

Thomas Ardill
February 2013

Finberg 1909, II, p.786, CCLVIII 17a.
Warrell 1999, p.253 note 50.
Ian Warrell, Turner Catalogue Files, Tate, CCLVIII 17a. Warrell described the top sketch as ‘View of the banks of the Seine, possibly near the Château of Robert-le-Diable.’

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