Joseph Mallord William Turner

Alken and Burg Thurandt, Looking Upstream; Alken and Burg Thurandt, Looking Upstream from further from the Town


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

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Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 235 × 140 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCLXXXIX 9

Catalogue entry

These slight sketches show the town of Alken, situated on the Moselle south of Kobern-Gondorf. The Burg Thurandt presides over Alken from a vertiginous mount in the distance. 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; in the twelfth century ownership was passed on to the Archbishops of Trier.1 There are various inscriptions by Turner surrounding the drawings: one refers to the quality of the colour and light of the sky as ‘Strong’, another to the ‘M of Etz’, i.e. to the mouth of the River Eltz which runs six miles upstream of Alken.2
For other views of Alken and the Burg Thurandt see Tate D28305; Turner Bequest CCLXXXIX 8; the Cochem to Coblenz – Home sketchbook belonging to the 1839 tour (Tate D28371–D28377; Turner Bequest CCXCI 18–21) and the earlier Rivers Meuse and Moselle sketchbook of 1824 (Tate D19806–D19809; Turner Bequest CCXVI 128–129a). See also the watercolour and gouache drawings of Alken and Thurandt produced between 1839 and 1840 (Tate D28949, D29023; Turner Bequest CCXCII 2, 72).

Alice Rylance-Watson
August 2013

‘Geschichte’, Burg Thurant,, accessed 9 August 2013.
Powell 1991, Appendix p.219.

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