Joseph Mallord William Turner

The Gros Horloge at Rouen, Normandy


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Gouache and watercolour on paper
Support: 142 × 192 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCLIX 257

Catalogue entry

Turner worked gouache and watercolour paints over this ink drawing to depict the fourteenth-century Grand Horloge timepiece at Rouen with the cathedral rising behind. Particular attention has been paid to capturing the busy life of the street and the heavily ornamented urban architecture by the application of dense, sketchy pen marks and irregular patches of blue and ochre paint. 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 of these, see the entry for Tate D24655 (Turner Bequest CCLIX 90). Art historian Ian Warrell has identified two pencil sketches in the earlier Dieppe, Rouen and Paris sketchbook as sources for the present study: see Tate D24518 (Turner Bequest CCLVIII 10) and Tate D24520 (Turner Bequest CCLVIII 11).1 For the finished watercolours of Rouen 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.
Technical notes:
The verso of this sheet is attached to the mount.

John Chu
August 2014

Read full Catalogue entry


You might like

In the shop