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This gouache of the German town of Cochem is similar in colour and handling to Turner’s other 1839 gouache, Cochem from the North (Tate D20238; Turner Bequest CCXXI E). In both, the artist renders a mirror-like sheen to the surface of the Moselle, softly diffusing the reflections from the riverbank into the river. Turner clearly found inspiring and fruitful subject matter in Cochem, given that he painted more views of it than of any other town or village on the Moselle.1 There are seven gouaches of Cochem, of which five are in the Turner Bequest (see also D20253, D24723, D24725, D24806; Turner Bequest CCXXI T, CCLIX 158, 160, 241).
Turner makes Cochem’s Reichsburg Castle the focal point of this composition, the viewpoint emphasising its precarious perch on the summit of a conical mount. Beneath the castle is the tiny Plague Chapel of Saint Roch and a stretch of the fortified town wall, punctuated at either end by defensive gates. Cochem itself lies in the middle distance with the Church of Saint Martin (see Tate D20253; Turner Bequest CCXXI T) at centre and beyond the town’s second castle: the Winneburg. This view was first recorded in a pencil sketch in the Trèves to Cochem and Coblenz to Mayence sketchbook (see Tate D28359; Turner Bequest CCXC 5).
Powell 1995, p.132 no.52.
Stamped in black with Turner Bequest monogram and ‘CCXCII–39’ at bottom left; inscribed in pencil ‘107 b’ centre right and ‘CCXCII–39’ bottom centre.