Joseph Mallord William Turner

Alken and Burg Thurandt, Looking Downstream


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 100 × 156 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCXCI 18

Catalogue entry

This slight sketch shows the town of Alken, situated on the Moselle south of Kobern-Gondorf. The Burg Thurandt presides over Alken from a vertiginous mount at centre. Partly built on Roman foundations, the castle was constructed for the brother of King Otto IV in 1197 to mark his return from the Crusades; and in the twelfth century ownership was passed on to the Archbishops of Trier.1 The spired building seen nestled near the foot of the cliffs is the Michaelskapelle, an ancient chapel dating back to 1015.2
This sketch and that on Tate D28572; Turner Bequest CCXCI 18a formed the basis of a watercolour and gouache drawing of 1839 (Tate D29023; Turner Bequest CCXCII 72).
For other views of Alken and the Burg Thurandt in this sketchbook see Tate D28373–D28377; Turner Bequest CCXCI 19–21. See also the earlier Rivers Meuse and Moselle sketchbook of 1824 (Tate D19806–D19809; Turner Bequest CCXVI 128–129a).

Alice Rylance-Watson
August 2013

‘Geschichte’, Burg Thurant, accessed 9 August 2013
‘Die Michaelskapelle in Alken’, accessed 9 August 2013,

Read full Catalogue entry

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