View this artwork by appointment, at Tate Britain's Prints and Drawings Rooms
Turner was in Metz on 21, 24 and 25 August 1824. Here, the artist makes a study of the city’s celebrated Cathedral of St Stephen, a majestic Rayonnant Gothic building constructed in local Jaumont limestone. Turner depicts the west end of the cathedral, and the monumental portal designed by Jacques-François Blondel constructed between 1754 and 1755.1 The portal is part of a larger scheme of renovations arranged by Blondel, which also included the demolition of the complex of southern chapels and their replacement with the Place d’Armes.2 The fourteenth-century rose window, the work of the master glass maker Hermann von Münster, and the Tour de la Mutte, the cathedral’s vertiginous belfry built in 1481, is also visible in the sketch.3
A number of small and slight jottings surround the study of the cathedral: one, a distant view of Metz with the medieval bridge, the other, a view of two forts atop hills. Cecilia Powell suggests that these forts may be Ehrenbreitstein at Koblenz.4 Alternatively, they may belong to part of the fortifications at Metz.
For other sketches of Metz in this book see Tate D19709; Turner Bequest CCXVI 80a.