Here Turner depicts the Moselle town of Bernkastel, dominated by the ancient ruins of the Castle Landshut; its tower is seen at right, highlighted in milky white gouache. A shrine, attended by a solitary figure and sheltered by four tall trees, is pictured in the foreground. The shrine’s interior is decorated with a simple wooden crucifix. A heavy mist appears to cloak the valley, partly obscuring the view of Bernkastel and its church. This Gothic church, dedicated to Saint-Michel and dating to 1177, is noted for its striking tower and turreted spire.1
Cecilia Powell suggests that this work could be ‘an alternative or preliminary version’ of another gouache picturing Bernkastel and the Landshut now in a private collection.2 There is a third gouache which incorporates Bernkastel’s sister village of Kues, also in a private collection.3 For related pencil sketches see Tate D28407–D28412; Turner Bequest CCXC 29–31a.
‘Pfarrkirche St. Michael’, Ferienland Bernkastel-Kues, accessed 17 September 2013, http://www
.bernkastel .de /ferienland /bernkastel -kues -im -moselurlaub /sehenswertes /st -michael -kirche .html
Powell 1991, p.134 no.53; and Andrew Wilton, J.M.W. Turner: His Life and Work, Fribourg 1979, p.422 no.1030.
Wilton 1979, p.422 no.1029.
Inscribed in pencil ‘?CCXXI?’ bottom centre and ‘CCLIX 217?’ bottom right. There are also markings in brown watercolour wash running from top to bottom towards the right.