Joseph Mallord William Turner

Views on the River Saône; Including One of Lyon with the Presqu’île and the Confluence of the Saône and Rhône


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 98 × 128 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CXCII 40 a

Catalogue entry

This page contains three distinct landscape sketches depicting views on the River Saône. The most detailed of these is the uppermost composition which represents a sweeping prospect of Lyon seen from the south. Turner’s viewpoint is the hill above the right-bank of the river looking north (upstream) across the Presqu’île, a peninsula created by the convergence of the Saône (left) with the larger River Rhône, seen here on the right. Among the visible landmarks in the background it is possible to identify, from left to right: the Fourvière hill, the Cathedral of Saint Jean-Baptiste (St John the Baptist), the Croix Rousse hill, the domes of the Hôtel Dieu (on the Presqu’île) and the Pont de la Guillotière (a bridge across the Rhône). The arches near the left-hand foreground meanwhile represent the Pont de la Mulatière, see folio 39 (D16715; Turner Bequest CXCII 38). A similar view from the lower vantage point of the banks of the river can be seen on folio 37 verso (D16712; Turner Bequest CXCII 36a).
The two lower sketches depict distant mountains and Turner has annotated both drawings with numbers, presumably to indicate a scale of tonality within the colouring of the landscape.

Nicola Moorby
April 2013

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