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

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner Château de Gisors; Caudebec-en-Caux, Normandy 1832

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Folio 74 Verso:
Château de Gisors; Caudebec-en-Caux, Normandy 1832
Turner Bequest CCLIV 74a
Pencil on white wove paper, 174 x 117 mm
Inscribed by Turner in pencil ‘Red to V’ towards top centre
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
With the sketchbook turned horizontally, Turner filled the top half of this page with a view of the Château de Gisors in Normandy. The skyline is dominated by a description of the ruins of the medieval castle, and topped off by its relatively well-preserved donjon towards the top left-hand corner. A colour note reading ‘Red to V’ suggests Turner’s desire to record a particular effect of light over the scene. Gisors and its ancient architecture are the subject of particular study in this sketchbook. For a list of associated sketches in the volume see the entry for folio 41 verso (D23962; Turner Bequest CCLIV 41a). For a slightly later watercolour study of the town’s landmarks in the Turner Bequest, see Tate D20265 (Turner Bequest CCXXII F).
Inverted in relation to the view of Gisors, a far more cursory description of Caudebec-en-Caux fills the bottom half of the page. Located over forty miles north-west of Château Gaillard as the crow flies, the scene is identifiable by the presence of the tall Gothic spire of Notre-Dame amidst rolling riverside hills.1 For the watercolours of Caudebec that Turner worked up with a view to engraved reproduction around this time, see Tate D20235 (Turner Bequest CCXXI B), D24670 (Turner Bequest CCLIX 105), D24760 (Turner Bequest CCLIX 195), and D24818 (Turner Bequest CCLIX 253). These culminated in an engraving in the 1834 volume of Turner’s Annual Tour: Wanderings by the Loire and Seine (1833–5; later reissued as Rivers of France); see Tate impression T05601. A list of pages in the sketchbook featuring views of Caudebec-en-Caux is provided in the entry for folio 75 recto (D24029; Turner Bequest CCLIV 75).
A sketch of a small vessel in full sail amidst a wider landscape view runs down the height of the page at the far left-hand edge, and continues over onto folio 75 recto opposite (D24029; Turner Bequest CCLIV 75).

John Chu
July 2014

See Maurice Dragon, L’église Notre-Dame de Caudebec-en-Caux, Luneray 1997.

How to cite

John Chu, ‘Château de Gisors; Caudebec-en-Caux, Normandy 1832 by Joseph Mallord William Turner’, catalogue entry, July 2014, in David Blayney Brown (ed.), J.M.W. Turner: Sketchbooks, Drawings and Watercolours, Tate Research Publication, April 2015, https://www.tate.org.uk/art/research-publications/jmw-turner/joseph-mallord-william-turner-chateau-de-gisors-caudebec-en-caux-normandy-r1173433, accessed 22 September 2021.