Scene on the French Coast

WAG 4477


This print, 'Scene on the French Coast', is plate 4 of Turner's 'Liber Studiorum' series. It is an example of the 'Marine' category of landscape painting. It was published with the 1st part of the series on 20 January 1807. The writer John Ruskin (1819-1900) originally identified this scene as a view of Flint Castle, North Wales. Other observers have noted that the two castles do not look alike and it is now thought to be a view from the French coast. Turner considered sea views to be part of the landscape tradition. He made this type of landscape his own more than any other. The 'Liber Studiorum' illustrated Turner’s arguments for the supremacy of landscape painting. The title means ‘book of studies’ in Latin. It contained no written text, instead it was made up of individual mezzotint prints on paper. They were released in fourteen parts from around 1807 until 1819. Turner intended the 'Liber' to consist of 100 prints but only 71 were ultimately produced. The prints reflected the five categories of landscape painting Turner believed existed: architectural, historical, marine, mountainous and pastoral. Turner wrote an initial on each work to indicate which category it belonged to.