Does anybody recognise town in Normandy, France?

I painted this view recently from a reference photo that I’ve had in my collection since 2011!

It was taken on a camera rather than on a phone and there’s no GPS location tagging of any sort. As best as I can remember, this was taken the in the July of the year that our daughter was born, in the following October.

It’s one of the only times (in fact THE only time) that our main holiday wasn’t under canvas! This was due to the quite understandable protestations of my heavily pregnant partner.

Instead, we took lodgings under the roof of a lovely cottage owned by the parents of a dear friend.

In fact, I have mentioned this cottage before because back in 2020 I painted an interior view (or two!) from our stay there!

It must have been during this stay, and whilst we were exploring the nearby towns and villages that I took this photograph. It was obviously on a market day, but aside from ‘market day in a French town in Normandy’, I have no other information about the exact whereabouts of this scene.

Hopefully it captures some of the sense of light and busy bustle of a market day (in a French town in Normandy!)

Somewhere in France (Normandy I think!?)

I was desperately tempted to throw a shadow of some sort across the table in the foreground to break up the stark definition of the table, but as I’d already added the shadow of the arm, that suggests a high noon sun overhead, I didn’t feel comfortable adding in a shadow from some non existent object from out of view.

I still wonder if this was the right decision and would be delighted to hear what others think. It’s still not too late for me to add one!

I’d also be delighted to hear from anyone that might recognise this town!

Thoughts on Does anybody recognise town in Normandy, France?

14 thoughts on “Does anybody recognise town in Normandy, France?”

  1. Bravo John pour cette magnifique aquarelle. Je pense que le problème de l’ombre est résolu déjà. L’ombre du bras du premier personnage, suggère à elle seule que le soleil est au zénith. Comme Marie je ne le toucherais plus. Bravo encore pour cette belle ambiance de marché français.
    Amicalement Serge

    1. Merci beaucoup pour ce Serge ! Je suis si heureux que vous aimiez ce tableau et, maintenant que j’ai eu quelques réponses de personnes, je suis résolu à laisser le tableau tel qu’il est et à ne pas essayer de jouer avec ou d’ajouter plus d’ombres ! Un grand merci Serge, et tous mes meilleurs vœux

    1. Thanks so much Rob, it’s not Dieppe, but another reader has hit the nail very precisely on the head with Bricquebec-en-Cotentin! Am thrilled that someone was able to help with this!

      1. Well done that man! Of course, I was taking into account the fact that you remove all the detail from the buildings so the “tower” could have been any kind of tower at all. Now, if you’d included all that detail…..

        1. Haha, yes Rob, you’re quite right, I fear that any ambition I have of becoming a topographical artist are going to be severely limited if I don’t change my ways!

  2. That is an impressive tower. Looks like an octagonal donjon, so wild guess: the castle of Bricquebec seen from outside the gate house… there are so many towers in France.

    1. Wow, this is amazing!! I’ve just spent some time googling Bricquebec and yes, you’re absolutely right!! Bricquebec-en-Contentin – it was close to where we were staying and just seeing the images on Google took me right back to it! Thanks so much for this, I’m absolutely tickled pink that someone was able to identify this location, thank you so much, it’s made my day!

      1. Just a bit of a guess, tbh. I’m busy trying to identify the locations of old pictures taken in Brittany and Normandy in old family albums, but I have not come across this town so far.
        Nb, I love the contrast between the stillness of the buildings in the background and the busy market in the painting.

        1. Well it was a pretty amazing guess, as another follower pointed out, I tend to strip out a lot of detail so there wasn’t a lot to go on – especially as you quite rightly noted that there are so many towers in France! Good luck with trying to identify the other locations from your albums – I’d offer to assist but as you can probably tell, I doubt I’d be much help! Many thanks again and all best wishes

  3. Good decision. I would leave it alone. And it is a wonderful painting. I can really see your progress in the last few years. Just imagine what this would have looked like if you had painted it back in 2011.

    Any chance you could ask your friend about the towns around their parent’s cottage? One of the names might ring a bell. There is even the possibility they might recognize it if they saw the painting or the photo.

    If I knew now what I knew then I would have taken better reference photos of my trips through the decades.

    I’m scraping my brain cells to remember all of the places I’ve visited my entire life. I’m building a charm bracelet with vintage charms (because they just don’t make them any more). I’m moved from the majors, like Stuttgart and Milano to the more obscure like Waiblingen and Duisberg. I have Mainau and Hellbrunn. I can’t believe there are none for Giengen. Trying to decide on Mystic Seaport and Tombstone. Haven’t seen a Salem I like. But I have Catalina and San Juan Capistrano.

    I was just considering getting out the old photo albums, looking through them and maybe even taking photos of them with the camera just to have them digitized. They might bring back even more memories.

    1. Hi Mary and thanks so much for this, I’m so pleased that you like this painting and can see the progress of my watercolour journey! What I’m also delighted about is that another ready has managed to identify the town, which is really wonderful!
      I think it’s good idea to go back through the albums and photograph them! It’s just so convenient to have them on your phone to be able to trawl through them whenever you feel like it! Thanks so much Mary

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