Joseph Mallord William Turner

The Tour Coquesart at Tancarville, Normandy


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

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Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Gouache and watercolour on paper
Support: 141 × 193 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCLIX 156

Catalogue entry

Turner worked gouache and watercolour paints onto this sheet of blue paper to depict the ruined castle at Tancarville in Normandy, perched on its rocky platform overlooking the Seine.1 Art historian Ian Warrell has identified the tall structure on the right-hand side of the scene as the remains of the fortress’s Tour Croquesart. Particular attention has been paid here to the contrast between the silvery tones of the distant landscape and the dark, opaque passages of the foreground. This is one of five colour studies of Tancarville which Turner worked up around this date with a view to potential publication; for a list see the entry for Tate D24595 (Turner Bequest CCLIX 30). Warrell has identified a pencil sketch in the Tancarville and Lillebonne sketchbook as a source for the present study; see Tate D23804 (Turner Bequest CCLIII 54).2 For the Turner’s finished watercolours see Tate D24693 (Turner Bequest CCLIX 128) and Tate D24695 (Turner Bequest CCLIX 130). All this activity culminated in two engraved illustrations 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 impressions T04701 and T05597.
Ian Warrell, Turner on the Seine, exhibition catalogue, Tate Gallery, London 1999, p.270.
Technical notes:
The verso of this sheet is attached to the mount.

John Chu
August 2014

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