Joseph Mallord William Turner

The Cap de la Hève, Normandy


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

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Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Gouache and watercolour on paper
Support: 195 × 142 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCLIX 1

Catalogue entry

Turner worked gouache and watercolour paints onto this sheet of blue paper to depict the Cap de la Hève near Le Havre, Normandy. The two lighthouses at the top of the high cliffs at that location are clearly marked, as is a sailing boat listing in the English Channel’s choppy waters. Sketches of this coastal landmark recur frequently in the Seine and Paris sketchbook of a similar date, and presumably contributed to the conception of this and four further colour studies on blue paper: Tate D24567 (Turner Bequest CCLIX 2), D24594 (Turner Bequest CCLIX 29), D24645 (Turner Bequest CCLIX 80), and D24820 (Turner Bequest CCLIX 255). For lists of these sketchbook drawings, see the entry for D23975 (Turner Bequest CCLIV 48). For the finished watercolour of the Cap which Turner worked up with a view to engraved reproduction around this time, see Tate D24701 (Turner Bequest CCLIX 136). All this activity culminated in the engraved vignette in the 1834 volume of Turner’s Annual Tour: Wanderings by the Loire and Seine (1833–5; later reissued as Rivers of France); see Tate impression T05593.
Turner filled the verso of this sheet with cursory white chalk drawings. A round form towards the bottom right-hand corner of the page may represent the moon while the outline of a narrow, tapering structure presumably represents one of the lighthouses at the Cap de la Hève.

John Chu
August 2014

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