Joseph Mallord William Turner

The Grande Cascade at Saint-Cloud, Île-de-France; ?Holiday-Makers


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 174 × 117 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCLIV 3 a

Catalogue entry

Inverted in relation to the sketchbook as foliated, the drawings along the top edge of this torn page record views around the lost seventeenth-century Château de Saint-Cloud which is located some seven miles west of central Paris on the banks of the Seine. In the top right-hand corner can be seen the roofline of the palace seen from a low vantage and, to the left, a cursory description of the Grand Cascade that tumbles down towards the river from the formal parterres. This spectacular garden ornament featured in Turner’s subsequent depiction of Saint-Cloud for a new edition of Walter Scott’s Life of Napoleon Buonaparte (1834–6); see Tate impression T04974.
The groups of figures at the bottom of the page may have been drawn at the same location. On special Sundays each September, large numbers of visitors massed at Saint-Cloud for an annual fair, during which time the interior of the chateau was opened up and the garden fountains turned on.1 Certainly, crowds of holiday-makers feature prominently in one of the Saint-Cloud watercolours which Turner worked up with a view to engraved reproduction around this time; see Tate D24697 (Turner Bequest CCLIX 132).
A list of pages in the sketchbook featuring Saint-Cloud is provided in the entry for folio 17 verso (D23914; Turner Bequest CCLIV 17a).
Ian Warrell, Turner on the Seine, exhibition catalogue, Tate Gallery, London 1999, p.228.
Technical notes:
Around a fifth of this page was roughly torn from the volume. This excision took place before Turner commenced work on the recto of this page. For details, see the entry on folio 3 recto (D23890; Turner Bequest CCLIV 3).

John Chu
July 2014

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