Joseph Mallord William Turner

Kobern from the South

c.1839

View this artwork by appointment, at Tate Britain's Prints and Drawings Rooms

Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Gouache and watercolour on paper
Dimensions
Support: 138 x 188 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D20271
Turner Bequest CCXXII L

Catalogue entry

This gouache shows the German town of Kobern, depicted from a southerly viewpoint, on the left bank of the Moselle. The approach to Kobern was a sight to be relished, according to the travel writer Bartholomew Strich, as it was ‘signalized by two ruined castles, that like gigantic sentinels seem to keep watch and ward over the little town’.1 These two strongholds are the Oberburg and Niederburg (the upper and lower castles), and each is shown here perched atop soaring pinnacles. In Kobern town itself, Turner pictures the Romanesque bell tower, or Glockenturm.
A spectrum of coloured gouaches is used to render this view in tones of amber, mauve, scarlet, lavender and gold. Turner applies pigment to paper using a range of techniques: in loose strokes, in fluid planes, in vigorous hatches, and in broad smudges. The result is richly chromatic and multi-tonal.
Preparatory pencil drawings of Kobern appear in the Cochem to Coblenz – Home sketchbook (Tate D28591–D28594; Turner Bequest CCXCI 28a–30).
1
Bartholomew Stritch, The Meuse, the Moselle, and the Rhine; or, A six weeks' tour through the finest river scenery in Europe, by B.S., London 1845, p.65.
Verso:
Stamped in black with Turner Bequest monogram and ‘CCXXII–L’ bottom left; inscribed in pencil ‘CCXXII L’ bottom right and ‘26a’ centre towards top right.

Alice Rylance-Watson
September 2013

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