Joseph Mallord William Turner

A Ruined Castle; Vilshofen, on the River Danube


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 126 × 198 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCCX 50

Catalogue entry

With the page turned horizontally both ways, Turner made three drawings here, showing what appear to be aspects of the same ruined castle,1 set among rugged hills. It is one of the few subjects in this sketchbook to remain unidentified (see the Introduction), but was perhaps observed in passing from a winding mountain road or the Danube Valley in the vicinity of Passau, which appears on numerous adjacent pages; see under folio 48 verso (D31371). There are five similar views on folio 49 verso opposite (D31373).
At right-angles, inverted relative to the sketchbook’s foliation, is a small, loosely rendered view with the ‘R[iver] D[anube]’ in the foreground, labelled to indicate Vilshofen on the south bank about fifteen miles west of Passau, with the slender spire of St John the Baptist’s Church on the right. This is currently the only identified subject between Passau and Regensburg (see under folio 18 verso; D31311), about seventy miles upstream to the north-west, and Cecilia Powell has suggested that Turner ‘probably travelled by road, possibly at night’ for this part of his journey.2

Matthew Imms
September 2018

See Powell 1995, p.243.
Ibid., p.69.

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