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

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner Harfleur ?1829

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Folio 5 Recto:
Harfleur ?1829
Turner Bequest CCLIII 5
Pencil on pale cream laid paper, 156 x 107 mm
Inscribed by John Ruskin in red ink ‘5’ bottom right
Stamped in black ‘CCLIII – 5’ bottom right
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
The page contains two sketches, both drawn horizontally. The bottom sketch is drawn with the page turned upside down, and continues onto folio 4 verso opposite (D23706). Finberg identified these sketches as being of ‘Harfleur’,1 and the location has been confirmed.2 The upper sketch is of the ruined rounded towers of the Porte de Rouen (Gate of Rouen), which constituted part of the ancient town fortifications3 (for further information on Harfleur, see under folio 1 recto, D23699). The church tower on the right is identifiable by its shape as that of the Church of Saint-Martin (for further information on the church, see under folio 2 verso, D23702). The bottom sketch is a view of Harfleur with the Church of Saint-Martin on the right and the Seine estuary, on which the town is located, winding away into the distance behind.
Art historian Ian Warrell refers4 to this page, presumably this bottom sketch, as one of the preliminary studies Turner used for his later watercolour, Harfleur, c.1832 (Tate D24667; Turner Bequest CCLIX 102),5 engraved for Turner’s Annual Tour Wanderings by the Seine, 1834 (Tate impressions: T05596, T06225). However, much more of the watercolour, for example similar composition, viewpoint, and objects in the foreground, is taken from the other sketch also noted by Warrell, on the verso (D23708).

Caroline South
May 2017

Finberg 1909, II, p.768.
Warrell 1999, p.273 no.119; ?Ian Warrell, ‘Turner on the Seine: Topographical Index’, c.1999, Prints and Drawings Room, Tate Britain (printout in copy of Warrell 1999), p.3.
Le Havre Tourism, ‘Harfleur – Porte de Rouen – Journées nationales de l'archéologie’, www.youtube.com, accessed 10 February 2017, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DH_smD5WC4M.
Warrell 1999, p.273 no.119.
Andrew Wilton, J.M.W. Turner: His Life and Work, Fribourg 1979, p.412 no.955.

How to cite

Caroline South, ‘Harfleur ?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-harfleur-r1195613, accessed 22 May 2024.