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This sketch depicts the city of Metz, located in north-eastern France close to the borders with Luxembourg and Germany. With rough, gestural line Turner represents the imposing Cathedral of St Stephen (Saint-Étienne de Metz) at centre, the Church of Saint-Vincent to its left, and the Moselle to its right. Metz marks the confluence of the Moselle and Seille Rivers, making it an important fluvial thoroughfare. Turner has suggested a number of boats in the foreground, moored at the banks of the river.
Drawn inversely to the principal drawing is a sketch of what is also believed to be Metz, rendered in slight pencil line. The ridged and hilly topography is cut by river valleys, a waterway suggested by serpentine line at the left.
For other representations of Metz in this sketchbook see Tate D28216–D28219, D28221, D28222, D28232–D28235; Turner Bequest CCLXXXVIII 25a–27, 28, 28a, 34–36. There is also a gouache and watercolour drawing of the city produced on blue paper in 1839 (Tate D24757; Turner Bequest CCLIX 192). For earlier depictions of Metz see the Rivers Meuse and Moselle sketchbook of 1824 (Tate D19706, D19709, D19786; Turner Bequest CCXVI 79, 80a, 118).