Turner worked gouache and watercolour paints onto this sheet of blue paper to depict the ruined castle at Tancarville in Normandy perched on its rocky platform overlooking the Seine.1 The extensive edifice, achieved in grey paint, can be seen in the middle distance. Particular attention has been paid in the composition to the framing device of tall, dark trees to the right-hand side of the scene and to the waves on the river as they catch the low light of the sun. This is one of five colour studies of Tancarville which Turner worked up around this date with a view to potential publication; for a list see the entry for Tate D24595 (Turner Bequest CCLIX 30). For the finished watercolours see Tate D24693 (Turner Bequest CCLIX 128) and Tate D24695 (Turner Bequest CCLIX 130). All this activity culminated in two 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, p.270.
The verso of this sheet is attached to the mount.