Joseph Mallord William Turner

Studies of Normandy Caps; Figures, Boats, and the Harbour of Le Havre


Not on display

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 118 × 123 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCLVIII 2

Catalogue entry

Turner used this page for a variety of studies. Across the top are nine studies of the caps worn by the women of Normandy. Most of the female figures drawn on the quaysides of Rouen and elsewhere in the sketchbook wear this distinctive headgear. Turner methodically sketched the hats from every angle with faces, necks and shoulders in some of the sketches for context. At the bottom right of the page are related studies of figures carrying baskets on their backs, a standing group and a sitting group.
At the upper left is a slight sketch of a boat with a riverbank or shore behind it and perhaps cliffs at the right. It is inscribed ‘Fog of Rouen | m[...]y | wood [...]’. The sketch at the bottom of the page, inscribed ‘Havre’, depicts the entrance to the harbour with the Tour Francois Ier (seen clearly in a gouache and watercolour on blue paper study painted around 1832: Tate D24548; Turner Bequest CCLIX 83), and the Honfleur headland beyond.
Finally, at the centre of the page, drawn with the book rotated to the right, is a study of a boat; its mainsail rolled up around the boom and the deck crowded with figures, several of whom lean against the boom. To the right is a second study of the same or a different boat’s stern.
Technical notes:
The page has yellowed considerably due to light exposure from having been exhibited apart from an unaffected border which was covered by a mount.

Thomas Ardill
February 2013

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