In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Gouache and watercolour on paper
Dimensions
Support: 142 × 191 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D24691
Turner Bequest CCLIX 126

Display caption

Troyes was the furthest point up the Seine depicted by Turner for the 1835 edition of the *Annual Tour*. When he arrived there during the 1832 tour his interest in the project had been overtaken by his enthusiasm for the more recent commission to locate places associated with Napoloeon. Consequently he travelled east to Brienne, instead of south towards the source of the Seine near Dijon. Nevertheless, this drawing, with its atmospheric mood of an early autumn evening, provides a suitable note on which to close the sequence. The towers of the city are seen from the surrounding ramparts, where residents enjoy the air at the end of the day, an activity recommended in contemporary guidebooks.

Gallery label, September 2004

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Catalogue entry

Engraved:
By J.C. Armytage in 1834, published in 1835.
In this watercolour, Turner presents a tranquil view on the bank of the River Seine at the town of Troyes, the ancient capital of the Champagne region, in north-central France. Turner portrays figures in relaxed poses. Troyes cathedral in the background is conveyed in softly contrasting colours of salmon and lilac. Light falls from the top right corner, picking out edges of the buildings at far right in russet tones, highlighting the edges of turrets to the left before hitting and highlighting the tower just left of centre, and leaving the area at central right in purpled shadow, above the still water. All these elements suggest it is early evening.
The watercolour is based on pencil sketches (Tate D24366,1 D243702 and D24380;3 respectively Turner Bequest CCLVII 101a, 103a, 108a) in Turner’s Paris and Environs sketchbook from 1832.
An engraving was made of this watercolour by J.C. Armytage in 1834, as Troyes (Tate impressions T04726, T05626 and T06264) for the volume Wanderings by the Seine of 1835.4 This is the last of Turner’s series of illustrations to appear in the volume. Various elements have been added to the engraving, namely a crescent moon high at the top centre of the sheet, its reflection in the water at bottom centre, and several ducks in the lower right corner.
1
Lyles and Perkins 1989, p.41; Lyles 1992 p.64.
2
Ibid.; Warrell 1999, p.278.
3
Lyles and Perkins 1989, p.41; Lyles 1992 p.64.
4
Leitch Ritchie, Wanderings by the Seine, London, Paris and Berlin 1835, opposite p.244.
Verso:
Previous records note inscriptions in gouache ‘21[?] | Troyes’ and in pencil ‘20’; however, currently covered and simply marked ‘No image on the back.’

Caroline South
November 2017

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