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

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner St-Germain-en-Laye: The Terraces Seen from Below ?1827-9

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
St-Germain-en-Laye: The Terraces Seen from Below ?1827–9
Turner Bequest CCLX 39
Gouache, pen and ink and pencil on blue paper, 140 x 194 mm
Stamped in black ‘CCLX–39’ bottom right
Blind stamped with the Turner Bequest monogram lower centre
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
This sheet is one of a series of sketches associated with a tour of the Seine with a proposed dating of 1827–9. The studies are characterised by the use of pen and ink on blue paper; for more information see the Introduction to this section.
Saint-Germain-en-Laye on the Seine was known for its associations with both the exiled British monarch James II and with the French monarchy. A 1.5 mile long stone terrace was built between 1669 and 1673, which still allows the visitor to look on a view over the Seine valley and distant Paris. Turner chose a viewpoint from the terrace for some of his views: as Ian Warrell has noted, he used the same spot earlier chosen by Thomas Girtin, which had led to a panoramic aquatint etched by J.C. Stadler in 18031. For Turner’s views from the high terrace made around the same time as the present sheet, see Tate D24896 (Turner Bequest CCLX 60) and Tate D24895 (Turner Bequest CCLX 59), also catalogued within this section. The latter of these inspired a view for Turner’s 1835 Annual Tour print series (Tate D24687; Turner Bequest CCLIX 122).
The present sheet, however, is taken from a lower viewpoint. It includes many more figures than the wider format outlooks, inviting us to see a snapshot of life in the village as opposed to the grandeur of the alternative viewpoints. A related pen and ink drawing, possibly made during a slightly later visit (Tate D24874; Turner Bequest CCLX 38), is also taken from a lower viewpoint; however, the later sheet is without the bustle of village life seen in the present sketch.
Warrell 1999, p.210.
Technical notes:
There is possible evidence of water damage, perhaps from the 1928 Tate Gallery flood; see for example the area above the figures in the lower left.
This sheet has been laid down on heavy paper and the verso could not be examined at the time of cataloguing.

Elizabeth Jacklin
October 2018

How to cite

Elizabeth Jacklin, ‘St-Germain-en-Laye: The Terraces Seen from Below ?1827–9 by Joseph Mallord William Turner’, catalogue entry, October 2018, 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-the-terraces-seen-from-below-r1195870, accessed 14 April 2024.