Joseph Mallord William Turner

The Church of Saint-Martin at Harfleur, Normandy


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Gouache and watercolour on paper
Support: 138 × 187 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCLIX 86

Catalogue entry

Turner carefully worked gouache and watercolour paints onto this ink drawing to depict the Church of Saint-Martin at Honfleur, Normandy as seen from the banks of the River Lézarde. Beyond the everyday bustle of the foreground, particular attention has been paid to the recession in perspective of picturesque buildings leading to the highly ornamented Gothic spire of the church. Art historian Ian Warrell has singled out a pencil drawing in the Tancarville and Lillebonne sketchbook as an important source for the present study: see Tate D23709 (Turner Bequest CCLIII 6).1 For the two other colour studies of Harfleur of around this date, see Tate D24654 (Turner Bequest CCLIX 89) and D24761 (Turner Bequest CCLIX 196). For the finished watercolour on this subject in the Turner Bequest, see Tate D24667 (Turner Bequest CCLIX 102). All this activity culminated in an engraving 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 impression T05596.
Ian Warrell, Turner on the Seine, exhibition catalogue, Tate Gallery, London 1999, p.270.
The centre of the sheet bears the following chalk notes:
2 4
1 2
2 2
6 1
3 11
2 ?8
The bottom right-hand corner also bears the note ‘7’ in chalk and the pencil note ‘D24651’. The top left-hand corner is inscribed with the note ‘7 Harfleur’ in black gouche. The top left-hand corner bears the pencil notes ‘4’ and ‘4x’.

John Chu
August 2014

Read full Catalogue entry


You might like

In the shop