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

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner Tancarville Castle ?1829

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Folio 46 Verso:
Tancarville Castle ?1829
Turner Bequest CCLIII 46a
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 rough sketch, drawn horizontally, of a castle on a hillside. Finberg identified this sketch as ‘Tancarville Castle’, comparing it with the engraving mentioned below .1 The Tancarville location has subsequently been confirmed.2
Art historian Andrew Wilton notes that Turner made this and other rapid sketches of Tancarville castle in this sketchbook.3 Wilton also states4 that Turner’s later watercolour, Tancarville, with the Town of Quillebeuf in the Distance (‘Back View’), c.1832 (Tate D24695; Turner Bequest CCLIX 130),5 which was engraved for Turner’s Annual Tour Wanderings by the Seine, 1834 (Tate impression: T04701), was based on this sketch. However, the viewpoint in the watercolour appears to be from the opposite direction, depicting the front (from the east) rather than the back (from the west) of the castle, and therefore rather different.
In the sketch, Turner picks out the shapes of the castle buildings in a few strokes with emphasis on the two pointed roofs of the towers against the cliffs behind and to the left, the latter cliffs highlighted by a jagged line. The position and shape of the tall structure to right of the towers correspond to the castle’s Coquesart Tower. (For further information on Tancarville castle see under folio 46 recto; D23788.)
Art historian Ian Warrell6 agrees that this drawing corresponds to the front view of the castle, as he states that it (and folio 47 verso; D23791) was used as the preliminary sketch for Turner’s watercolour, Tancarville from the East (‘Front View’), c.1832 (Tate D24693; Turner Bequest CCLIX 128),7 which was also engraved for the 1834 Annual Tour (Tate impressions: T05597, T06226).

Caroline South
May 2017

Finberg 1909, II, p.770.
?Ian Warrell, ‘Turner on the Seine: Topographical Index’, c.1999, Prints and Drawings Room, Tate Britain (printout in copy of Warrell 1999), p.5.
Wilton1975, p.150 no.264.
Wilton 1979, p.413 under no.957.
Ibid., no.957, reproduced.
Warrell 1999, p.273 no.120.
Wilton 1979, p.412 no.956, reproduced.

How to cite

Caroline South, ‘Tancarville Castle ?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-tancarville-castle-r1195695, accessed 19 April 2021.