J.M.W. Turner: Sketchbooks, Drawings and Watercolours

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner A Church in the Middle Distance, Possibly the Collegiate Church of Notre-Dame in Poissy ?1829

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Folio 2 Recto:
A Church in the Middle Distance, Possibly the Collegiate Church of Notre-Dame in Poissy ?1829
D23701
Turner Bequest CCLIII 2
Pencil on pale cream laid paper, 107 x 156 mm
Inscribed by John Ruskin in red ink ‘2’ bottom left descending vertically
Stamped in black ‘CCLIII – 2’ bottom left descending vertically
 
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
The page contains a sketch, or possibly two sketches, drawn horizontally, of buildings in a landscape, with particular focus on a church in mid-distance. Finberg noted it simply as ‘Church in mid-distance’1 but art historian Ian Warrell states that the sketch depicts the town of Poissy.2 The two-towered shape of the church corresponds to that of the Collegiate Church of Notre-Dame in Poissy, yet this location is strangely incongruous with the surrounding sketches, which are all of the town of Harfleur, some 106 miles (or 170 kilometres) distance from Poissy. Furthermore, other views of Poissy all appear together towards the end of the sketchbook, from folio 86 recto (D23868) onwards.
The sizes and positions of the building and trees indicated in the lower right of the page do not seem coherent with the rest of the landscape depicted and are therefore likely to be a separate quick sketch.

Caroline South
May 2017

1
Finberg 1909, II, p.768.
2
Warrell 1999, p.262, note 178; ?Ian Warrell, ‘Turner on the Seine: Topographical Index’, c.1999, Prints and Drawings Room, Tate Britain (printout in copy of Warrell 1999), p.3.

How to cite

Caroline South, ‘A Church in the Middle Distance, Possibly the Collegiate Church of Notre-Dame in Poissy ?1829 by Joseph Mallord William Turner’, catalogue entry, May 2017, in David Blayney Brown (ed.), J.M.W. Turner: Sketchbooks, Drawings and Watercolours, Tate Research Publication, November 2019, https://www.tate.org.uk/art/research-publications/jmw-turner/joseph-mallord-william-turner-a-church-in-the-middle-distance-possibly-the-collegiate-r1195607, accessed 22 May 2024.