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

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner Paris: The Hôtel de Ville and Pont d'Arcole c.1833

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Paris: The Hôtel de Ville and Pont d’Arcole c.1833
Turner Bequest CCLIX 119
Gouache and watercolour on blue paper, 142 x 192 mm
Stamped in black ‘CCLIX – 119’ bottom right
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
By Thomas Jeavons in 1834, published in 1835.
In this watercolour, Turner presents a view over the Pont d’Arcole bridge spanning the River Seine in central Paris, France. Turner portrays the bridge stretching over the mid-ground, with light falling dramatically onto its tower at centre and lighting up its right side. The background is filled with tall Parisian buildings, including the Hôtel de Ville (the city hall). Turner places the viewer in the heart of the multi-layered and busy city and its activities. Figures are indicated on the bridge, boats on the water, and further figures along the various levels of the quayside – whether in the foreground, down by the water’s edge or from a balcony overlooking the scene from the bottom far right corner. Figures in the foreground face the viewer. Women on the left sit on the ground enveloped by dogs and children; another woman at right carries a dog. Turner includes a sign next to one of the seated women which bears the inscription ‘chiens’, the French word for dogs. The full title of this watercolour refers to the dog market in the foreground. This part of Paris was known for poodle groomers, as well as tooth pullers, and assorted other vendors.
The watercolour is based on a pencil sketch (Tate D24295; Turner Bequest CCLVII 66),1 with reference to further sketches (D24290; CCLVII 63a),2 from Turner’s Paris and Environs sketchbook of 1832.
An engraving was made of this watercolour by Thomas Jeavons, as Hôtel de Ville and Pont d’Arcole (Tate impressions T04722, T05623 and T06260) for the volume Wanderings by the Seine of 1835.3
Wilton 1979, p.416; Warrell 1999, p.278.
Warrell 1999, p.278.
Leitch Ritchie, Wanderings by the Seine, London, Paris and Berlin 1835, opposite p.180.
Previous records note inscriptions in gouache ‘19 | Pont Arcole and Pont Moulin | Hotel de Ville Paris’ and in pencil ‘16’; however, at the time of writing the watercolour was on display and the back therefore not available for examination and confirmation.

Caroline South
November 2017

How to cite

Caroline South, ‘Paris: The Hôtel de Ville and Pont d’Arcole c.1833 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-paris-the-hotel-de-ville-and-pont-darcole-r1195822, accessed 29 January 2022.