Joseph Mallord William Turner

The Citadel, Church and Bridge at Huy, Looking Upstream

1824

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

Medium
Graphite on paper
Dimensions
Support: 99 x 162 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D20088
Turner Bequest CCXVII 3

Catalogue entry

This highly wrought drawing shows a wide-angled view of Huy, extending onto the folio opposite (Tate D20087; Turner Bequest CCXVII 2 a). Drawing from the Quai des Recollets, Turner records the ancient stone bridge which traverses the Meuse and a further single-arched bridge, the Pont St Nicholas, to the far left of it. The majestic Church of Notre-Dame follows, its lofty towers leading the eye to Huy’s citadel, a great bulk of a building remodelled by the Dutch during their occupation of Huy in 1818.1 Given its commanding position, Bartholomew Stritch writes that the fortress was historically a ‘great object of contention’ and ‘was taken and retaken, numberless times during the civil wars that so long devastated the country’.2 Its nineteenth-century reparations and augmentations, however, put the citadel ‘in the most formidable state of defence’: a ‘great portion of the works have been hewn out of the solid rock, and towering walls of massive masonry superadded to the precipices upon which it stands to render it impregnable’.3 In contrast to the stolid rectilinear mass of the citadel is the Church of Notre-Dame below, a fourteenth-century Flamboyant Gothic building constructed on Romanesque foundations. Turner delicately reproduces the tiers of pointed arches and lancet windows, making further studies of the church’s apse and Bethlehem portal in the Rivers Meuse and Moselle sketchbook (Tate D19631; Turner Bequest CCXVI 41).
For a similar but later view, see the Spa, Dinant and Namur sketchbook of 1839 (Tate D28132, D28140; Turner Bequest CCLXXXVII 48, 52).
1
Powell 1991, p.123 no.38.
2
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.24.
3
Ibid., pp.24–5.
Technical notes:
The paper has mottled and browned significantly, a result of the drawing’s prolonged exhibition and exposure to sunlight during the nineteenth century.

Alice Rylance-Watson
January 2014

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