Joseph Mallord William Turner

Burg Lahneck; St John’s Church, Niederlahnstein


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 118 × 78 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCXVI 142

Catalogue entry

Beneath a summarily rendered view of the Burg Lahneck, here Turner has produced a small study of St John’s Church at Niederlahnstein. This impressive basilica was constructed on Roman foundations in the 1130s in the late Romanesque architectural style and is understood to be the earliest gallery church on the Rhine.1 By the time of Turner’s visit the church was in ruins, left destroyed by French Revolutionary troops after a siege in 1794. The travel writer Joseph Snowe is particularly condemning of this attack, writing that:
the destructive influence of French democracy, as evinced by its armies in the first revolution, extended itself even to this noble structure, during one of their earliest visits to the shores of the Rhine. It was ruined by them without any apparent cause.2
Other drawings of St John’s can be found on: Tate D12811, D20160, D28526, D29660; Turner Bequest CLX 57, CCXVIII 22, CCXC 86,CCXCVI 32a.

Alice Rylance-Watson
June 2014

‘Die Geschichte der Johanniskirche’, Lambertin; Förderkreis Johanniskirche Lahnstein, accessed 13 June 2014,
Joseph Snowe, The Rhine, Legends, Traditions, History, from Cologne to Mainz, vol.II, London 1839, pp.44–5.

Read full Catalogue entry

You might like

In the shop