Joseph Mallord William Turner

A Distant View of Bacharach, Looking up the River Rhine


Not on display

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 104 × 170 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCCIII 56

Catalogue entry

The drawing was made with the page turned horizontally. As identified by Cecilia Powell,1 it shows a distant view of Bacharach, on the west bank of the Rhine, looking upriver to the south, with the hillside ruins of Burg Stahleck above the spire of St Peter’s Church.
Powell has noted that Turner neared the end of this tour following ‘the familiar route of the Rhine between Mainz and Cologne. He almost certainly travelled by steamer, ... sketching most of the well-known sights perfunctorily as he passed.’2 Given that this sketchbook was used in reverse of its subsequent foliation, she has specified the overall range of this phase as ‘TB CCCIII 68v–20v; 11r’,3 indicating folios 12 recto and 21 verso–69 verso (D30479, D30497–D30592; Turner Bequest CCCIII 20a–68a); see this book’s Introduction for the full itinerary of this part of the journey.
Bacharach is also shown on folios 57 verso–58 verso (D30569–D30571; CCCIII 56a, 57, 57a). For other views, see the 1817 Itinerary Rhine Tour, Waterloo and Rhine and Rhine sketchbooks (respectively Tate D12647; Turner Bequest CLIX 75a; D12820–D12824, D12826; CLX 61a–63a, 64a; D12938–D12940; CLXI 30a–31a), the 1833 Brussels up to Mannheim – Rhine sketchbook (D29700, D29725, D29726, D29728; CCXCVI 54, 66a, 67, 68, the 1835 Prague, Nuremberg, Frankfurt and Rhine sketchbook (D30658; CCCIV 14a), and the 1839 Trèves to Cochem and Coblenz to Mayence sketchbook (D28473–D28474; CCXC 62, 62a).
Turner made two watercolours in 1817: Bacharach and Burg Stahleck (currently untraced);4 and Burg Sooneck with Bacharach in the Distance (British Museum, London).5 There is a larger variant of the latter from 1820, Bacharach on the Rhine (Aberdeen Art Gallery and Museums),6 for which there are two colour studies (Tate D25242, D25304; Turner Bequest CCLXIII 120, 182). An 1830 watercolour vignette, Bacharach on the Rhine (Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center, Vassar College),7 was engraved in 1832 for Byron’s Works (Tate impression: T06648).
There are also the watercolours Bacharach, from the early 1840s (Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge),8 and Bacharach on the Rhine, from about 1841 (Victoria and Albert Museum, London).9 Another, of about 1844, Wellmich and Burg Maus on the Rhine, has a pencil study of Bacharach on the verso (National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin).10

Matthew Imms
September 2018

Powell 1995, p.246.
Ibid., p.72.
Ibid., p.82 note 70.
Andrew Wilton, J.M.W. Turner: His Life and Work, Fribourg 1979, p.374 no.642.
Ibid., p.377 no.671, reproduced.
Ibid., p.380 no.693, reproduced.
Ibid., p.446 no.1222, reproduced.
Ibid., p.459 no.1324, reproduced.
Ibid., pp.459–60 no.1328, as ‘On the Rhine’, ?1844, reproduced.
Ibid., p.461 no.1343, as ‘Landscape on the Moselle or Rhine’, ?1844, reproduced.

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