Joseph Mallord William Turner

The Grand Logis, near the Porte de l’Enclos, Grande Chartreuse


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Gouache, graphite and watercolour on paper
Support: 283 × 212 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest LXXIV 32

Catalogue entry

Turner’s label for this drawing is inscribed ‘Le Petit Eglise de St Humber Gd C’ [sic]. For Turner’s visit to the Chartreuse in 1802 see Introduction to the sketchbook.
This is one of the few leaves from this sketchbook that Turner worked up with watercolour. Together with his emphatic use of pencil and black chalk, it gives a vivid impression of the dense forests surrounding the two buildings. The buildings have long been unrecognised and Turner’s label and inscription by the small pool in the foreground of the drawing were also problematic; David Hill observed that ‘Turner called this “St. Hubert’s Well” but the subject has not yet been properly identified’.1 However in a letter to the present writer following the 1999 exhibition at Martigny, Jean-Marc Roget of Chartreuse Diffusion kindly pointed out that the buildings are the Grand Logis and the adjacent chapel near the Porte de l’Enclos at the entrance to the valley of the Grande Chartreuse monastery. They were not part of the main complex but the Grand Logis was built as a reception area and depository for visitors to leave their weapons before entering. The house and chapel still stand today, little changed; the Logis is now holiday accommodation. M. Roget also suggested that Turner’s inscription refers to St Hugues, Bishop of Grenoble, who first guided the monastery’s founder, St Bruno, to the valley.2 However, early rulers of Dauphiné were called Humbert. The last, Humbert II, sold the region to the king of France in 1349.
Hill 1992, p.41.
Letter to the author, 21 April 1999, in Tate catalogue files. St Hugues, also Hugh/Hugo/Ugo (1053–1132).
Blank, inscribed perhaps by a later hand in pencil ‘14’

David Blayney Brown
September 2011

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