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

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner St-Germain-en-Laye c.1833

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
St-Germain-en-Laye c.1833
Turner Bequest CCLIX 122
Gouache and watercolour on blue paper, 140 x 195 mm
Blind-stamped with Turner Bequest monogram bottom right
Stamped in black ‘CCLIX – 122’ bottom right
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
By James Allen in 1834, published in 1835.
In this watercolour, Turner portrays figures on the Great Terrace at the town of Saint-Germain-en-Laye, in the western suburbs of Paris, France. The huge terrace, stretching a mile and a half in length, was built in the seventeenth century for king Louis XIV by his gardener André Le Nôtre. As depicted here by Turner, it affords views over the valley of the River Seine and western Paris.1 The river meanders below to the left, crossed by a multi-arched bridge. In the far background at right, Turner indicates the aqueduct at the nearby town of Marly. The figures in the foreground, in bright and colourful clothes, looking out at the view, suggest leisure and enjoyment, yet Turner includes one figure in contrast, covered in a black cloak and turned away in the opposite direction.
The watercolour is based on Turner’s loose pen and ink sketch of the scene (Tate D24895, Turner Bequest CCLX 59)2 and pencil sketches (Tate D24492; Turner Bequest CCLVII 166) in Turner’s Paris and Environs sketchbook from 1832.
An engraving was made of this watercolour by James Allen in 1834, as St Germains (Tate impressions T04714, T05616 and T06252) for the volume Wanderings by the Seine of 18353 (noted as ‘View from the Terrace of Saint Germain-en-Laye’ in the ‘List of Engravings’).
There are related inscriptions on the verso (D40124).

Caroline South
November 2017

Butlin, Wilton and Gage 1974, p.120; Wilton 1979, p.415; Warrell 1999, p.277.
Leitch Ritchie, Wanderings by the Seine, London, Paris and Berlin 1835, opposite p.132.

How to cite

Caroline South, ‘St-Germain-en-Laye 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-st-germain-en-laye-r1195825, accessed 25 May 2022.