View this artwork by appointment, at Tate Britain's Prints and Drawings Rooms
This impressionistic scene shows the town of Karden on the Moselle. Michael Joseph Quin writes that no other settlement on this river ‘is more celebrated for the number and beauty of its old religious edifices’, the largest of these being the Romanesque Basilica of St Castor.1 With hairline strokes of ink, Turner delineates the contours of this ancient structure, leaving the body of the building unpainted and the blue paper exposed. It appears almost ghosted, looming over the local houses and buildings which are left rather diminutive in comparison.
St Castor, Quin remarks, has a ‘peculiar and most interesting appearance’ owing to ‘its three lofty belfries’, ‘high gabls [sic] and lengthened roofs’.2 By 1839 the basilica also housed ‘a female convent’ and several ‘small oratories’ which were ‘all stations for pilgrimages’.3 In front of the basilica and on the banks of the river is the Burghaus, a turreted and ‘castellated’ sixteenth-century house with multiple projecting towers’ which Quin writes was ‘probably intended to be the palace of some “baron bold”.’4
This gouache is based on the preliminary pencil sketch Tate D28558; Turner Bequest CCXCI 11a.
Inscribed in pencil ‘CCLIX 144’ at bottom right.