View this artwork by appointment, at Tate Britain's Prints and Drawings Rooms
The artist reached the ancient city of Trier in Germany on 27 August, his arrival marking the exact halfway point of the 1824 tour. Turner’s series of sketches of the city, though diminutive, become manifestly more precise than those which came before them. Rendered in fine, agile line, the viewer soon becomes aware that Turner’s two days spent touring and recording the city show ‘not only a sense of arrival and fulfilment but also of great enjoyment’, as Cecilia Powell writes.1 These pencil sketches are also accompanied by watercolour drawings taken in a larger, landscape format book: the Trèves and Rhine sketchbook (Tate D20139–D20161; D41501; Turner Bequest CCXVIII 1–23).
This sheet contains three small views of Trier, taken from the Moselle. In the uppermost sketch a tall tower with a narrowly tapering cone-shaped roof is visible. Unidentified by previous cataloguers, this building is clearly the mill of the former Abbey of Saint Martin (Martinskloster) on the waterfront at Trier. Clarkson Stanfield (1793–1867) produced an almost identical view of this old mill for engraving and publication in his Sketches on the Moselle, the Rhine, and the Meuse of 1838.2
Directly below the view of the mill is a tiny sketch which appears to depict Pallien, the town on the opposite side of the river to Trier (see also Tate D19727, D19731; Turner Bequest CCXVI 89a, 91). The central view shows the Martinskloster at left and looks upstream towards the Alter Krahnen and the Römerbrücke (Roman Bridge). For other sketches of Trier in this book, see Tate D19726, D19728–D19730, D19732–D19743; Turner Bequest CCXVI 89, 90–91, 92–97a.