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

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner Lillebonne, Looking towards the Seine c.1832

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Lillebonne, Looking towards the Seine c.1832
Turner Bequest CCLIX 110
Gouache and watercolour on blue paper, 141 x 191 mm
Blind-stamped with Turner Bequest monogram bottom left
Stamped in black ‘CCLIX – 110’ bottom right
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
By Thomas Jeavons in 1833, published in 1834.
In this watercolour, Turner presents Lillebonne castle, in northern France, perched on a hill, nestled between higher, rolling hills, with the river Seine in the background. The tower of the Church of Notre-Dame at Lillebonne is depicted in white gouache at lower right. Turner employs contrasting colours, and light and shade, to give shape to the landscape. The forms of the castle buildings are conveyed in warm tones of terracotta and pink, contrasting against the greens and blues of the landscape. In the lower left corner, figures and baskets for picking fruit trail in the sunlight conveyed by bright warm tones of yellow and orange, whilst above them, shadow and a trail of vegetation is indicated in opposing cool dark green shades, with a further area in contrasting light beyond this to the left. A trail of buildings picked out in bright white gouache, below the castle, echoes the trail of figures. Further lines of darker buildings cross the landscape, down the opposite side of the castle hill and at lower centre above the figures. With the slightest touches of white gouache, Turner indicates the sails of boats on the distant water.
The watercolour is based on sketches (Tate D23754, D23770,1 D23772, D23778, and for the view of the distance, D237780;2 respectively Turner Bequest CCLIII 29, 37, 38, 41, 42) from Turner’s Tancarville and Lillebonne sketchbook, believed to date from 1829.
An engraving was made from the watercolour by Thomas Jeavons in 1833 as Lillebonne (titled ‘Lillebonne, Chateau and Tower’ in the List of Engravings, Tate impressions T04702, T05599 and T06228), for the volume Wanderings by the Seine of 1834.3
Wilton 1979, p.413 no.958.
Warrell 1999, p.274.
Leitch Ritchie, Wanderings by the Seine, London, Paris and Berlin 1834, opposite p.64.
Blank, except for an inscription ‘10’ in pencil or grey gouache in the top left corner of the sheet and below this, running vertically upwards, is written ‘Lillebonne’ in pencil, both inscriptions probably made by Turner. On the right the sheet inscribed with a pencil note reading ‘[?5] a’. The centre of the sheet is stamped with the Turner Bequest monogram above the number ‘CCLIX – 110’, which is also written in pencil at centre above the stamp. There is a small spot red staining at the top centre edge of the sheet.

Caroline South
November 2017

How to cite

Caroline South, ‘Lillebonne, Looking towards the Seine c.1832 by Joseph Mallord William Turner’, catalogue entry, November 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-lillebonne-looking-towards-the-seine-r1195802, accessed 27 June 2022.