Joseph Mallord William Turner

The River Crossing below Château Gaillard

?1827–9

In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Pen and ink and gouache on paper
Dimensions
Support: 145 × 187 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D24849
Turner Bequest CCLX 13

Catalogue entry

This sheet is one of a series of sketches associated with a tour of the Seine with a proposed dating of 1827–9. The studies are characterised by the use of pen and ink on blue paper; for more information see the Introduction to this section. Many of the sheets feature groups of figures and capture a moment of life on the Seine; the present study, with its suggestions of relaxed activity on a summer’s day, is no exception.
The ruined fortifications seen from across the river were first identified as the twelfth century Château Gaillard in Normandy by Nicholas Alfrey in 1977. Ian Warrell later noted that if the dating of this sheet to c.1827–9 is correct, then this and a similar study (Tate D24850; Turner Bequest CCLX 14) form the key evidence of a first, and otherwise undocumented, visit by Turner to the twin villages of les Andelys. Warrell also noted that some other studies on blue paper (Tate D25065, D25093–D25095; Turner Bequest CCLXI 93, CCLXI 121–123) were probably made during Turner’s better documented visit to the area in 18321; a number studies of les Andelys appear in the Seine and Paris sketchbook (Tate D23886–D24076; Turner Bequest CCLIV 1–98a); for a full list see John Chu’s entry for Tate D23982 (Turner Bequest CCLIV 51a).
Turner followed his later visit to the twin villages with a vignette of c.1833 (Tate D24692; Turner Bequest CCLIX 127), which was engraved as part of Turner’s Annual Tour: Wanderings by the Loire and Seine of 1833–5 (for an impression of the print see Tate T04708). The vignette’s similarity to the present study, at least in terms of the castle itself, has led to the suggestion that the earlier sheet was used during the preparation of the Annual Tour vignette.2 Turner made two further vignettes, both presenting the castle from a different angle, in c.1833 (Indianapolis Museum of Art3), and then much later, in c.1844 (private collection4).
1
Warrell 1999, p.196.
2
Warrell 1999, p.276 under cat.134.
3
Andrew Wilton, J.M.W. Turner: His Life and Work, Fribourg 1979, p.419 no.1006.
4
See Warrell 1999, pp.199, 280 cat.178.
Verso:
This sheet has been laid down on a heavy paper and the verso could not be checked at the time of cataloguing.

Elizabeth Jacklin
October 2018

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