Joseph Mallord William Turner

Woman in Local Costume; Shipping, Loire Valley


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 170 × 110 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCXLVIII 17 a

Display caption

The first half of this sketchbook charts Turner's voyage up the Loire from Nantes to Angers, a journey he made on one of the new steamers that had begun to work the river a couple of years before his visit. His sketches generally fall in neat rows down each page, indicating how he struggled to observe and record each new profile of the passing points of interest. On this opening he studied the abbey-church at St-Florent-le-Vieil, later developing two blue paper studies from the sketches (nos.71 and 114). St-Florent came at the middle of his day's journey, and it was at this point that his steamer would have passed its sister ship coming down the river from Angers.

Gallery label, September 2004

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Catalogue entry

Turner worked a figure of a woman in local dress of the Loire Valley at the top of this page. Inverted in relation to the sketchbook as foliated, the drawings at the bottom of the page depict steamboats. Tate curator Ian Warrell has suggested that these vessels could be the Loire orthe Maine which ran a service along the river around Nantes and Angers.1 With the sketchbook turned horizontally, Turner filled much of the rest of page with drawings of the sailed barges distinctive to the Loire.2 Turner subsequently used local rivercraft to enliven his views of the river which he worked up for printed reproduction in The Keepsake annual (1831) and Turner’s Annual Tour: Wanderings by the Loire and Seine (1833–5; later reissued as Rivers of France).3 For examples, see Tate impressions T05107 and T04689.

John Chu
April 2015

Ian Warrell, Turner on the Loire, exhibition catalogue, Tate Gallery, London 1997, p. 65.
Ibid., pp. 64–7.
Luke Herrmann, Turner Prints: The Engraved Work of J.M.W. Turner, Oxford 1990, pp. 164–6, 171–83.

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