Joseph Mallord William Turner

Tancarville Castle


Not on display

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 107 × 156 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCLIII 46

Catalogue entry

The page contains a sketch, drawn horizontally, of a castle within hilly ground, with a high cliff behind and the sea to the left beyond. Finberg noted it simply as ‘Castle on Hill’;1 however, Tancarville has subsequently been suggested as the location.2 The arrangement and shape of the castle buildings, in particular the pointed roofs of the towers in the foreground, as well as the setting by the sea, correspond to Tancarville.
The castle is located on the right bank of the Seine estuary, at the top of a cliff on a spur of land, and separated from the rest of the land by a moat. The castle was initially constructed in the eleventh century for a lord named Tancred who gave his name to the later fortress on the site built for Raoul de Tancarville, Chamberlain to William the Conqueror (1035–1087). The castle later underwent several changes, in the twelfth, fifteenth, first quarter of the eighteenth, and middle of the nineteenth centuries.3

Caroline South
May 2017

Finberg 1909, II, p.770.
?Ian Warrell, ‘Turner on the Seine: Topographical Index’, c.1999, Prints and Drawings Room, Tate Britain (printout in copy of Ian Warrell, Turner on the Seine, exhibition catalogue, Tate Gallery, London 1999), p.5.
‘Castle, French Heritage monument to Tancarville’,, accessed 14 March 2017,; ‘Château de Tancarville’,, accessed 14 March 2017,

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