Joseph Mallord William Turner

The Cap de la Hève, Normandy


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Gouache and watercolour on paper
Support: 139 × 192 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCLIX 255

Catalogue entry

Turner rapidly worked gouache and watercolour paints onto this sheet of blue paper to depict the Cap de la Hève near Le Havre, Normandy. While the high cliffs and dark waters of this coastline. A figure hurries along the shore, before a pier stretching out into the sea. On the right-hand edge of the page, a row of small brown brush-strokes may be intended as a depiction of the exposed carcass of a ship. Sketches of the Cap recur frequently in the Guernsey and Seine and Paris sketchbooks and presumably contributed to the conception of this and three further studies of the subject on blue paper: Tate D24566 (Turner Bequest CCLIX 1), D24594 (Turner Bequest CCLIX 29), D24645 (Turner Bequest CCLIX 80). For lists of these sketchbook drawings, see the entries for D23975 (Turner Bequest CCLIV 48) and D23601 (Turner Bequest CCLII 44). 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.
Technical notes:
A margin of darker blue paper around the edge of the sheet indicates damage from prolonged exposure to light. The verso is attached to the mount.

John Chu
August 2014

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