Joseph Mallord William Turner

The Groesbeck and Sauvenière Mineral Springs at Spa

c.1839

In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Gouache, pen and ink and watercolour on paper
Dimensions
Support: 140 × 190 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D24780
Turner Bequest CCLIX 215

Catalogue entry

At the time of Turner’s visit in 1839, the Groesbeck and Sauvenière mineral springs were located in woodland approximately two miles east of the resort town of Spa, Belgium. The site was presided over by ‘a substantial three-storeyed house’, the Turner scholar Cecilia Powell writes, which was ‘linked to the Sauvenière spring by an arcade similar to that found at Géronstère’ (Tate D28079; Turner Bequest CCLXXXVII 19a).1 The pedimented stone aedicule seen at the left sheltered the Groesbeck spring, and its waters, William Chambers writes, were ‘considered efficacious in cases of impaired nervous energy, and in bilious complaints’.2
In loose pen and black ink line Turner has drawn the scene here from a pencil sketch in the Spa, Dinant and Namur sketchbook of 1839 (Tate D28084; Turner Bequest CCLXXXVII 22). The pen drawing is executed over areas of citrine and straw yellow gouache highlighted with white.
For other colour drawings of Spa and its surrounding springs see Tate D24610, D24745, D24753, D24788, D29017; Turner Bequest CCLIX 45, 180, 188, 223, CCXCII 66.

Alice Rylance-Watson
June 2013

1
Powell 1991, p.171, no.117 reproduced.
2
William Chambers, A Tour in Switzerland in 1841, London 1842, p.9.

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