Joseph Mallord William Turner

The Castle at Tancarville, Normandy


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Gouache and watercolour on paper
Support: 140 × 191 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCLIX 30

Catalogue entry

Turner worked gouache and watercolour paints onto this sheet of blue paper to depict the extensive castle ruins at Tancarville in Normandy, perched on its high platform overlooking the Seine. Dark-toned blue and brown paints have been allowed to bleed into one another at the base of the edifice to striking colouristic effect. A circle of white gouache in the sky suggests a moon hanging over a nocturnal scene. This is one of five colour studies of Tancarville which Turner worked up around this date with a view to potential publication; see also Tate D24720 (Turner Bequest CCLIX 155), D24721 (Turner Bequest CCLIX 156), D24734 (Turner Bequest CCLIX 169), and D24737 (Turner Bequest CCLIX 172). Art historian Ian Warrell has identified two pencil sketches in the earlier Tancarville and Lillebonne sketchbook as the sources for the present study: see Tate D23793 (Turner Bequest CCLIII 48a) and Tate D23794 (Turner Bequest CCLIII 49).1 For the finished watercolours see Tate D24693 (Turner Bequest CCLIX 128) and Tate D24695 (Turner Bequest CCLIX 130). All this activity culminated in engraved illustrations for the 1834 volume of Turner’s Annual Tour: Wanderings by the Loire and Seine (1833–5; later reissued as Rivers of France); see Tate impressions T04701 and T05597.
Ian Warrell, Turner on the Seine, exhibition catalogue, Tate Gallery, London 1999, p269.
Technical notes:
The verso of this sheet is attached to the mount.

John Chu
August 2014

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