Here Turner depicts the genteel inhabitants and visitors of the resort town of Spa, Belgium. They are seen leisurely strolling down a promenade lined with lofty elm trees in the Parc de Sept-Heures. The towering elms, rendered in long, tapering strokes of watercolour and fine pen and black ink, lend the promenade, as Cecilia Powell writes, a sense of ‘elegance and an almost architectural grandeur’.1 The colouring is fittingly subtle for a warm afternoon evening: comprised of washes of pale blue, soft yellow and muted brown-mauve. The figures, scattered amongst the promenade, are captured in quick pen and ink line and those in the foreground are highlighted in opaque white gouache.
The composition is derived from a very rough sketch in the Spa, Dinant and Namur sketchbook (Tate D28109; Turner Bequest CCLXXXVII 35 a). The promenade and Place Royale is pictured again on the following folio (Tate D28110; Turner Bequest CCLXXXVII 36), that pencil sketch also forming the basis of a further gouache of the Place Royale and entrance to the promenade (Tate D24788; Turner Bequest CCLIX 223).
Powell 1991, p.171 no.118.
Stamped in black with Turner Bequest monogram and ‘CCLIX 188’ at centre towards right.
- townscapes / man-made features(21,710)