Turner worked gouache and watercolour paints onto this sheet of blue paper to depict a large edifice set in a landscape framed by trees. The foreground is occupied by figures, lightly indicated by dashes of yellow gouache. As Art historian Ian Warrell has observed, the sketch is of a piece with the ‘colour studies’ of northern France which the artist worked up in the early 1830s with a view to engraved reproduction.1 Although loose handling has rendered the motif generic here, the round towers of the distant building may belong to the complex of medieval defences at Gisors, a town located some twenty-five miles east of the Seine as it flows past Les Andelys. Certainly drawings of the town recur frequently in the Seine and Paris sketchbook of around this date, and contributed to the conception of a colour study and two pencil sketches on blue paper: Tate D25007 (Turner Bequest CCLXI 35) and D25009 (Turner Bequest CCLIX 37). For a list of these sketchbook drawings, see the entry for Tate D23962 (Turner Bequest CCLIV 41a).
Ian Warrell, Turner on the Seine, exhibition catalogue, Tate Gallery, London 1999, pp.23, 252 note 39.
The sheet is inscribed in pencil with the notes ‘ii’ in the centre and ‘D24568’ in the bottom right-hand corner. The Turner Bequest monogram and the number ‘CCLIX – 3’ are stamped in black towards the bottom right-hand corner.