Joseph Mallord William Turner

The Lieutenancy Building at Honfleur, Normandy


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

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Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Gouache and watercolour on paper
Support: 139 × 192 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCLIX 76

Catalogue entry

Turner worked gouache and watercolour paints over this ink drawing to depict the quayside at Honfleur in Normandy. Behind the busy scene of small sailing vessels and their crews rises the picturesque structure of the port’s Lieutenancy Building, one of the town’s principal administrative centres. This is one of seven colour studies of Honfleur which Turner worked up around this date with a view to potential publication; these are listed under the entry for Tate D24580 (Turner Bequest CCLIX 15). Art historian Ian Warrell has identified two pencil sketches in the Tancarville and Lillebonne sketchbook as the sources for the present study: see Tate D23726 (Turner Bequest CCLIII 15) and Tate D23727 (Turner Bequest CCLIII 15a).1 For the finished watercolour of Honfleur, see Tate D24700 (Turner Bequest CCLIX 135). All this activity culminated in an engraved illustration 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 T04707.
Ian Warrell, Turner on the Seine, exhibition catalogue, Tate Gallery, London 1999, p269.
The centre of the sheet is marked with two notes; these read ‘15’ in white chalk and ‘CCLIX . 76’ in pencil. The centre also bears the Turner Bequest monogram and ‘CCLIX 76’ stamped in black. There is a light brown smudge in the centre.

John Chu
August 2014

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