Joseph Mallord William Turner

The Pic de l’Oeillette, Gorges du Guiers Mort, Chartreuse; Looking back to St Laurent du Pont


Not on display

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Gouache, graphite and watercolour on paper
Support: 565 × 728 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest LXXIX H

Catalogue entry

This colour study was made on one of the large loose sheets of grey-washed English paper that Turner took with him to France and Switzerland in 1802. One of only two of these sheets to have been worked up in colour (the other being D04887; Turner Bequest LXXIX M) it shows how Turner rubbed out the grey wash to expose the original white as highlights of sunshine on road or rock and the white of the clouds.
Formerly thought by John Russell and Andrew Wilton to depict the Dazio Grande on the southern side of the St Gotthard Pass, with Piz Sole beyond,1 the subject was identified by David Hill as originating in Turner’s trip into the Chartreuse.2 Along with several drawings from the smaller Grenoble sketchbook (for example Tate D04527; Turner Bequest LXXIV 34) it depicts the limestone needle, the Pic de l’Oeillette, beside the road along the Gorges du Guiers Mort to the Monastery of the Grande Chartreuse. The Pic is seen near the centre, at a distant corner of the road running in the direction of the village of St Laurent-du-Pont. Hill suggests that the figure seated on a boulder, near three mules, is the guide who escorted Turner and his traveller Newbey Lowson on their tour, waiting while they sketched.
Russell and Wilton 1976, pp.50–1.
Hill 1992, pp.40, 169.
Technical notes:
For the paper and preparation see D04875.
Blank, laid down

David Blayney Brown
January 2012

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