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 Verso:
Harfleur ?1829
Turner Bequest CCLIII 5a
Pencil on pale cream laid paper, 107 x 156 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
The page contains a sketch, drawn horizontally, of the harbour in the town of Harfleur. Finberg identified this sketch as being of ‘Harfleur’, comparing it to the subsequent engraving noted below. 1 The Harfleur location has been confirmed;2 for further information on the town, see under folio 1 recto (D23699). The church on the left is recognisable from the shape of its tower as Saint-Martin (for further information on the church, see under folio 2 verso; D23702).
A boat is depicted in the mid-distance left of centre and a further boat is sketched roughly on the left. The object depicted at bottom centre-left is the bare skeleton framework of a boat; Turner records the shape of the boat’s keel and end through the rounded lines on the right, and the outline formed by the boat’s framework on the left, whilst the oblique slanting strokes note the general impression of the boat’s ribs. The object is depicted more clearly in Turner’s later watercolour, Harfleur, c.1832 (Tate D24667; Turner Bequest CCLIX 102)3 which he based on this sketch,4 with additional reference to the recto (D23707).5 It was engraved for Turner’s Annual Tour Wanderings by the Seine, 1834 (Tate impressions: T05596, T06225).
The harbour sweeps down to the right and there is an area in the foreground far left which seems either a rocky outcrop or broken stone building but which in the watercolour is shown to be a wooden boathouse.

Caroline South
May 2017

Finberg 1909, II, p.768.
?Ian Warrell, ‘Turner on the Seine: Topographical Index’, c.1999, Prints and Drawings Room, Tate Britain (printout in copy of Ian Warrell, Turner on the Seine, exhibition catalogue, Tate Gallery, London 1999), p.3; and others.
Wilton 1979, p.412 no.955.
Butlin and others 1974, p.116 no.397; Reynolds 1975, p.36 no.46; Hoffmann 197, p.137 no.81; Wilton 1979, p.412 no.955; Warrell 1999, p.273 no.119.
Warrell 1999, p.273 no.119.

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-r1195614, accessed 22 May 2024.