Joseph Mallord William Turner

Burg Bischofstein and the Pauluskapelle, from Below; Ehrenbreitstein from the Petersberg, with the Monument to General Marceau in the Foreground

1839

In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Graphite on paper
Dimensions
Support: 235 × 140 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D28316
Turner Bequest CCLXXXIX 13 a

Catalogue entry

The uppermost, squared-off sketch is a view of the Burg Bischofstein which presides over the Moselle valley opposite the town of Burgen. The castle, identifiable by its tall cylindrical donjon tower and adjoining ruined chapel, was a stronghold of the Archbishops of Trier.1 Built in the late twelfth century and expanded in 1273, Bischofstein was later destroyed by the troops of Louis XIV of France during the Nine Years’ War.2 The medieval Pauluskapelle or Saint Paul’s Chapel can be seen below the castle (see Tate D28314; Turner Bequest CCLXXXIX 12a).
The remaining sketches are of Ehrenbreitstein, taken from the Petersburg at Koblenz. They show in the foreground the memorial to François Séverin Marceau-Desgraviers (1769–1796), a distinguished French general of the Revolutionary army. The pyramidal monument was erected in honour of Marceau’s capture of Koblenz, the former refuge of the émigrés (members of the French aristocracy and gentry expelled during the Revolution). Marceau is remembered for his heroism during a siege at Altenkirchen where he was killed in action at just 27 years of age. Both Marceau and the monument to him are immortalised in Byron’s Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage of 1812–8 (Canto, III; LVI):
By Coblentz, on a rise of gentle ground,
There is a small and simple pyramid,
Crowning the summit of a verdant mound;
Beneath its base are heroes’ ashes hid,
Our enemy’s – but let not that forbid
Honour to Marceau! O’er whose early tomb
Tears, big tears, gush’d from the rough soldier’s lid,
Lamenting and yet envying such a doom,
Falling for France, whose rights he battled to resume.3
The monument appears again on the folio opposite (Tate D28317; Turner Bequest CCLXXXIX 14).

Alice Rylance-Watson
August 2013

1
‘Bischofstein’, Burgendatenbank des Europäischen Burgeninstitutes, Burgen an Rhein und Donau, http://www.ms-visucom.de/cgi-bin/ebidat.pl?id=135, accessed 9 August 2013.
2
Ibid.
3
George Gordon Byron, Lord Byron, Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage, Canto the Third, London 1816, p.33.

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