Joseph Mallord William Turner

Alken and Burg Thurandt on the River Mosel


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite, watercolour and gouache on paper
Support: 140 × 195 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCXCII 2

Catalogue entry

The view is south-east from the River Mosel. In the 1909 Inventory Finberg was hesitant about the established identification,1 but Cecilia Powell has confirmed that it shows ‘the two towers of Burg Thurandt, the twelfth-century church of St Michael and the walls and towers of Alken’,2 roughly ten miles south-west of Coblenz. There are pencil outlines of buildings and hills towards the top right which appear to constitute a separate sketch, perhaps of Alken or a nearby scene; they were ignored when colour was added to the main view.
See also the 1824 Rivers Meuse and Moselle sketchbook (Tate D19804–D19810; Turner Bequest CCXVI 127–130) and the 1839 First Mossel and Oxford book (D28305, D28307; CCLXXXIX 8, 9). Turner had made a pencil study of the prospect in his Cochem to Coblentz – Home sketchbook when he passed the village the previous year (D28577; CCXCI 21;3 see also D28371–D28376, D28578; CCXCI 18–20a, 22). There are gouache studies on blue paper associated with the 1839 tour (Tate D20223, D20267, D29023; Turner Bequest CCXX P, CCXXII H, CCXCII 72).
The verso, with a pencil sketch at nearby Gondorf, is D40319. For the full range of Mosel subjects depicted on the present tour, see the Introduction to this subsection.
See Finberg 1909, II, p.937.
Powell 1995, p.154.
Ibid., reproduced.
Technical notes:
Cecilia Powell has noted this as one of the many sheets of grey 1829 Bally, Ellen and Steart paper used on Turner’s 1840 tour, neatly torn as eighths or sixteenths of the overall sheet, with dimensions of around 190 x 280 or 140 x 190 mm, and variously worked with pencil, watercolour and gouache; see the technical notes in the overall Introduction for others.1
In this instance Powell has observed ‘very distinctive mould marks’ shared with sheets used for subjects from the outward journey (Tate D28955; Turner Bequest CCXCII 8), Venice (D32181; CCCXVII 2) and the return leg (D28997, D32187; CCXCII 49, CCCXVII 8).2

Matthew Imms
September 2018

Ibid., p.145.
Ibid., p.154.

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