Joseph Mallord William Turner

Valombrè, for Rogers’s ‘Poems’


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Gouache and watercolour on paper
Support: 241 × 278 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCLXXX 185

Catalogue entry

This vignette, Valombrè, was engraved by Edward Goodall and published in the 1834 edition of Rogers’s Poems.1 It is the first of three illustrations that Turner designed for a poem entitled ‘Jacqueline’ about a young French girl whose choice of lover causes a rift with her father. At the beginning of the poem, the eponymous heroine runs away from her home in the French countryside and, as a result, no longer goes to visit the falls in Valombrè:
Not now, to while an hour away,
Gone to the falls in Vallombrè,
Where ’tis night at noon of day;
Nor wandering up and down the wood,
To all but her a solitude,
Where once a wild deer, wild no more,
Her chaplet on his antlers wore,
And at her bidding stood.
(Poems, pp.143–4)
Turner highlighted the entire passage with pencil in the margin of his own copy of the 1827 edition of Poems (see Tate D36330; Turner Bequest CCCLXVI p.168) and his subsequent vignette closely reflects the details of Rogers’s verse. The watercolour is remarkable among Turner’s illustrations to the series for its brilliant palette and delicate light effects.
It has been suggested that the small red deer in the foreground may be the work of the celebrated animal painter Edwin Landseer (1802–1873), but there is no firm evidence to support this conclusion.2 It is known, however, that Landseer did paint animals into other compositions by Turner, such as The Hospice of the Great St. Bernard, II circa 1826 (Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center, Vassar College, Poughkeepsie),3 and Mortlake Terrace exhibited 1827 (National Gallery of Art, Washington).4
The other two illustrations for ‘Jacqueline’ are St Pierre’s Cottage (see Tate D27700; Turner Bequest CCLXXX 183) and St Julienne’s Chapel (see Tate D27703; Turner Bequest CCLXXX 186).
Samuel Rogers, Poems, London 1834, p.144; W.G. Rawlinson, The Engraved Work of J.M.W. Turner, R.A., vol.II, London 1913, no.387. There are no impressions of this engraving in Tate’s collection.
See Wilton 1979, p.442 and Shanes, Joll, Warrell and others 2000, p.185.
Wilton 1979, no.1156.
Martin Butlin and Evelyn Joll, The Paintings of J.M.W. Turner, revised ed., New Haven and London 1984, no.239. See Wilton 1979, p.442 and W.T. Whitley, Art in England, 1821–37, Cambridge 1930, p.282.
Inscribed by unknown hands in pencil ‘22’ centre left and ‘23 | a’ centre and ‘CCLXXX.185’ bottom centre
Stamped in black ‘CCLXXX 185’ centre

Meredith Gamer
August 2006

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