Joseph Mallord William Turner

View of the River Seine with the Pont de St-Cloud


Not on display

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 114 × 185 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CLXXIII 12

Catalogue entry

Turner made a detour from Paris following the River Seine south-west to St-Cloud, and this short expedition gave rise to a series of sketches: see folios 5, 6–9, 10 and 11–13 (D13999, D14001–D14006, D14008 and D14010–D14012). The sequence includes views within the gardens of the famous Château de St-Cloud but also features a number of studies of the river itself and the bridges crossing it at St-Cloud and nearby Sèvres. The artist may have initially been drawn to the area because of its recent connections with Napoleon Bonaparte. The former Emperor had not only lived in the château but had built the monument known as the Lanterne de Démosthène in the palace gardens and had also ordered the reconstruction of the two stone bridges on this part of the Seine, the Pont de St-Cloud and the Pont de Sèvres. This sketch depicts a view of the river at St-Cloud looking upstream (south) towards the Pont de St-Cloud.
Turner revisited St-Cloud on several occasions and made many further sketches (see for example the Dieppe, Rouen and Paris sketchbook of 1821, Tate, Turner Bequest CCLVIII; and the Seine and Paris sketchbook of 1832, Tate, Turner Bequest CCLIV). The château and the bridges later formed the subjects for a number of watercolour illustrations, both for Turner’s Annual Tour, 1835: Wanderings by the Seine (see for example Tate D24689; Turner Bequest CCLIX 124),1 and Scott’s Life of Napoleon Buonaparte (Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge).2
For a full discussion see Ian Warrell, Turner on the Seine, exhibition catalogue, Tate Gallery, London 1999, pp.18–19, 223–8.
Andrew Wilton, J.M.W. Turner: His Life and Work, Fribourg 1979, p.431 no.1109, reproduced. See also Tate T04739.

Nicola Moorby
March 2013

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