Joseph Mallord William Turner

Tours; Cave Dwelling, Loire Valley


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 103 × 153 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCXLIX 4

Catalogue entry

With the sketchbook turned horizontally, Turner filled the lower half of this page with a westerly view of Tours. This is one of a substantial number of sketches of Tours in this volume, a list of which is provided in the sketchbook introduction. Turner subsequently used these drawings as the basis for multiple colour studies and finished watercolours on blue paper with a view to engraved reproduction. These culminated in four printed illustrations for Turner’s Annual Tour: Wanderings by the Loire and Seine (1833–5; later reissued as Rivers of France);1 see Tate impressions T04685–T04688.
The small sketch in the upper half of the page has been identified as a depiction of one of the cave dwellings distinctive to this stretch of the Loire Valley.2 Turner subsequently worked up a colour study of an interior one of these caves on blue paper; see Tate D23240 (Turner Bequest CCXLVIII 46).

John Chu
May 2015

Luke Herrmann, Turner Prints: The Engraved Work of J.M.W. Turner, Oxford 1990, pp.171–83.
Ian Warrell, Turner on the Loire, exhibition catalogue, Tate Gallery, London 1997, p. 236.

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