Joseph Mallord William Turner

Waiting for the Diligence, Brussels


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 94 × 154 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCLXXXVII 2

Catalogue entry

This rough pencil sketch was produced while Turner was waiting at the Grand’Place, Brussels’s main square, for the diligence stagecoach which was to take him to the city of Louvain (Leuven) for the start of his 1839 tour.1 The sketch later formed the basis of a gouache, watercolour, and pen and ink drawing of the same view (Tate D24784; Turner Bequest CCLIX 219).
The profile of the tall spire on the right, probably belonging to the Town Hall or Maison du Roi, can be seen extending onto the folio opposite (Tate D28043; Turner Bequest CCLXXXVII 1 a). Turner has left the main body of the building blank where he intended to place the stagecoach with figures embarking and disembarking. In the centre is a colonnaded building constructed in the Flemish baroque style and crowned with an ornamental statue. This may be one of the many guild houses which still line the square to this day. At the foot of the façade on the left is a group of figures sketched summarily, congregating in order to mount the diligence.
For an earlier drawing of the Grand’Place and Town Hall at Brussels see folio 9 verso of the Waterloo and Rhine sketchbook of 1817 (Tate D12717; Turner Bequest 9a).

Alice Rylance-Watson
April 2013

Powell 1991, p.165, no.106 reproduced.

Read full Catalogue entry


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