Joseph Mallord William Turner

The Cathedral and Entrance to the Bookseller’s Court at Rouen, Normandy


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

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Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Gouache and watercolour on paper
Support: 140 × 193 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCLIX 149

Catalogue entry

Turner worked gouache and watercolour paints over this ink drawing to depict the North Porch of Rouen Cathedral, Normandy as glimpsed through the elaborate Gothic screen enclosing the Bookseller’s Court. Contrasting grey and warmer ochre tones emphasise the distinction between the two heavily ornamented structures. This is one of seven colour studies of Rouen which Turner worked up around this date with a view to potential publication; for a list, see the entry for Tate D24655 (Turner Bequest CCLIX 90). Art historian Ian Warrell has identified a pencil sketch in the Dieppe, Rouen and Paris sketchbook as the source for the present study: see Tate D24518 (Turner Bequest CCLVIII 10).1 For the finished watercolours of the city in the Turner Bequest, see Tate D24672–D24674 (Turner Bequest CCLIX 107–109). All this activity culminated in three engravings 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 impressions T05604, T05605, T05607.
Ian Warrell, Turner on the Seine, exhibition catalogue, Tate Gallery, London 1999, p.272.
The bottom right-hand corner of the sheet is inscribed in pencil with the note ‘CCLIX – 149’. In bottom left-hand corner, a note in red ink has been mostly obscured by the mount.

John Chu
August 2014

Read full Catalogue entry


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