View of Rouen from St. Catherine’s Hill

Artist: Richard Parkes Bonington (British, Arnold, Nottinghamshire 1802–1828 London)

Date: 1821–22

Medium: Brush and watercolor and pen and brown ink over graphite

Dimensions: sheet: 5 13/16 x 9 1/16 in. (14.8 x 23 cm)

Classification: Drawings

Credit Line: Purchase, David T. Schiff Gift, Harry G. Sperling Fund, and Karen B. Cohen Fund, 1996

Accession Number: 1996.277


The French Romantic painter Eugène Delacroix described the sparkling, jewel-toned watercolors of the British painter Bonington, with whom he shared a Paris studio, as "like diamonds." In this view of Rouen seen from the northeast, broad wet washes evoke the sunlit sky, a dark cathedral soars above the blotted colors of the city's haze, and exquisite touches of a fine brush suggest tiny figures and the masts of distant ships. A version of this view was reproduced in aquatint by Thales Fielding in N.-J. Lefebvre-Duruflé's Excursion sur les côtes et dans les ports de Normandie, published 1823–25.