Joseph Mallord William Turner

Bernkastel, Kues and the Landshut; Fishing Boats

1824

In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Graphite on paper
Dimensions
Support: 118 × 78 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D19757
Turner Bequest CCXVI 104 a

Catalogue entry

The travel writer Bartholomew Stritch describes Bernkastel as an ‘old irregular, dirty but bustling town’, which, nonetheless, looked attractive ‘from the river’ given its situation ‘at the foot of a lofty hill’ (the Hunsrück mountain range).1 From atop this sheer range the ruins of the Burg Landshut overlook Bernkastel, as well as its neighbour, Kues, located on the other side of the Moselle. On this page Turner records the crumbling vestiges of this feudal fortress’s keep, which dates back to 1277.2 At rear the artist has also sketched the spire of Bernkastel’s principal church, dedicated to St Michael. The same steeple captured the attention of author Michael-Joseph Quin on his tour of the Moselle in 1843: it is ‘tall and graceful’, he writes, ‘rising to an almost imperceptible point. Eight small towers, besides, decorate the edifice, which is erected in the pointed style’.3
Other small and swiftly rendered views of both towns are jotted in and amongst sketches of the castle and of local fishing boats; these and a number of other preparatory drawings contributed to a highly finished watercolour drawing of Bernkastel on the Mosel, dated around 1830 (see also Tate D19758–D19760, D20176–D20182; Turner Bequest CCXVI 105–106, CCXIX 15–21).4 The tiny sketches at top left and right show ‘Dusemont’ and Mülheim (see Tate D19756; Turner Bequest CCXVI 104). Turner has inscribed ‘Lock’ next to ‘Dusemont’; though no such device is shown in the picture, the inscription may indicate that this stretch of the Moselle waterway was made navigable by a lock.

Alice Rylance-Watson
April 2014

1
Bartholomew Stritch, The Meuse, the Moselle, and the Rhine; or, A six weeks’ tour through the finest river scenery in Europe, by B.S., London 1845, p.49.
3
Michael Joseph Quin, Steam Voyages on the Seine, the Moselle, & the Rhine, etc., London 1843, p.321.
4
Andrew Wilton, J.M.W. Turner: His Life and Work, Fribourg 1979, p.465 no.1378; reproduced in colour in Powell 1995, p.108.

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