Turner rapidly filled this sheet of blue paper with a pencil description of the medieval architecture at Gisors, a town located some twenty-five miles east of the Seine as it flows past Les Andelys in Normandy. One of the town castle’s ruined towers rises up on the right-hand side of the sheet while the northern side of the Collegiate Church of Saint-Gervais and Saint-Protais occupies the central passage. Sketches of Gisors recur frequently in the Seine and Paris sketchbook and presumably contributed to the conception of this and one other pencil drawing on blue paper, as well as a colour study: see D20265 (Turner Bequest CCXXII F) and D25007 (Turner Bequest CCLIX 35). For a list of the sketchbook drawings, see the entry for Tate D23962 (Turner Bequest CCLIV 41a). The existence of the present drawing – perhaps made in preparation for later colour additions – suggests that Turner considered the subject for an illustration in Turner’s Annual Tour: Wanderings by the Loire and Seine (1833–5; later reissued as Rivers of France), although Gisors did not make it into this publication in the event.1
W[illiam] G[eorge] Rawlinson, The Engraved Work of J.M.W. Turner, R.A., London 1908, vol.II, pp.264–76 nos.453–92.
The verso of this sheet is catalogued under Tate D40099.