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

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner Three Sketches of the Citadel at Huy, from the South, along the Valley of the Houyoux; Various Architectural Features 1839

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Folio 1 Verso:
Three Sketches of the Citadel at Huy, from the South, along the Valley of the Houyoux; Various Architectural Features 1839
Turner Bequest CCLXXXVII 1 a
Pencil on white wove writing paper, 154 x 94 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
With the sketchbook turned upside down relative to the foliation Turner has drawn three separate sketches of the citadel at Huy, a town on the banks of the Meuse in the province of Liege, Belgium. On passing through Huy on his 1841 tour of Switzerland, the Scottish publisher William Chambers observed that the town was:
stuck awkwardly on the face of [a] hill, the summit of which is crowned with a fortification, apparently of immense strength, and commanding, with rows of bristling cannon, the passage up and down the Meuse. Part of the town is on the low ground on the left bank, the two divisions being connected by a long stone bridge which the steamer barely clears its way.1
Some but not all of these sights feature in the present sketch: on the upper register Turner has summarily outlined the tower of the Gothic Church of Notre-Dame, colloquially known as Li Rondia in the Huy dialect.2 Behind it is the profile of the fortress or citadel of Huy built by the Dutch in 1818 and known by locals as Li Tchestia. Beneath it, running across the middle register, is a further view of the citadel.3
Turner has sketched a number of isolated architectural features within and around the profile of the fortress including a spire with lantern-shaped crown to the right and a spandrel to the bottom left. At the bottom register there is a summary sketch of what appear to be vaulted arches and a rough delineation of a figure. The top of a spire from the opposite folio (Tate D28044; Turner Bequest CCLXXXVII 2) has continued onto this sheet.
For other views of Huy in this sketchbook see Tate D28048, D28053, D28057, D28067, D28096, D28131–D28137, D28139–D28143, D28147, D28149; Turner Bequest CCLXXXVII 4, 6a, 8a, 13a, 28a, 47a–50a, 51a–53a, 56a, 57a. There are also a number of colour sketches in gouache with watercolour and pen and ink produced on blue paper dated around 1839 (Tate D20221, D20222, D20226, D20268, D20288; Turner Bequest CCXX N, O, S; CCXXII I, CCXXIII C).
For earlier views of Huy see the 1824 Huy and Dinant sketchbook (Tate D20087–D20093, D20109–D20110; Turner Bequest CCXVII 2a–6a, 16–7); the Rivers Meuse and Moselle sketchbook of the same date (Tate D19622–D19635; Turner Bequest CCXVI 36–43) and the Brussels up to Mannheim sketchbook of 1833 (Tate D29653, D29656–D29659, D29661–D29662, D29768, D29771; Turner Bequest 29, 30a–32, 33–33a, 90, 91a).

Alice Rylance-Watson
April 2013

William Chambers, A Tour in Switzerland in 1841, London 1842, p.7.
‘Historique’, Decouvrir Huy, < http://www.huy.be/ma-commune/decouvrir-huy/historique >, accessed 22 April 2013.

How to cite

Alice Rylance-Watson, ‘Three Sketches of the Citadel at Huy, from the South, along the Valley of the Houyoux; Various Architectural Features 1839 by Joseph Mallord William Turner’, catalogue entry, April 2013, in David Blayney Brown (ed.), J.M.W. Turner: Sketchbooks, Drawings and Watercolours, Tate Research Publication, November 2014, https://www.tate.org.uk/art/research-publications/jmw-turner/joseph-mallord-william-turner-three-sketches-of-the-citadel-at-huy-from-the-south-along-r1150317, accessed 24 January 2021.