Joseph Mallord William Turner

Burg Krempelstein (Krämpelstein), down the River Danube; the Danube near Passau; Passau, with the Cathedral and the Oberhaus


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 127 × 198 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCXCIX 17 a

Catalogue entry

There are three views here, made with the page turned both horizontally and vertically. The first to be drawn was likely the vertical subject, inverted relative to the sketchbook’s foliation. Cecilia Powell has identified it as the compact Burg Krempelstein (or Krämpelstein), on the steep bank facing north-west between bends of the Danube opposite Erlau, not far east of Passau; here the view is eastwards from upstream,1 after Turner passed that way, having made two other sketches on the recto (D30034), under which other views are noted. Powell has observed that as the Danube flows to Linz from Passau, it ‘pursues its course by means of several spectacular bends’, giving the artist the chance to study the ruined castles as he sailed up this stretch ‘looking quickly now upstream, now downstream’,2 as shown in various sketches interspersed with other subjects between folios 17 recto and 26 verso (D30034–D30052).3
With the page turned the other way, at the top is another nearby prospect of the river, likely near Passau,4 and below it a tower with an onion dome overlooked by a large hilltop building. As Powell has suggested,5 this seems to be Passau itself, with the central tower of its cathedral on the Altstadt peninsula, and the Oberhaus fortress above the Danube to its north; it relates to various overlapping drawings showing the city to the west from the confluence of the Danube and the Inn on folio 18 recto opposite (D30036).
Although Turner’s route upriver was straightforward, his somewhat haphazard use of this book to record it was not. For the geographical sequence of identified views between Vienna and Passau (see under folios 40 recto and 31 recto; D30076, D30058), see this sketchbook’s Introduction.
The page number ‘17a’ is inscribed at the corner appears to be in the neat, rounded hand of the Turner scholar C.F. Bell (1871–1966), who contributed to research on the Bequest.

Matthew Imms
September 2018

See Powell 1995, p.241.
Ibid., p.68.
See ibid., p.81 note 35.

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