Joseph Mallord William Turner

Burg Rheinfels, on the River Rhine


Not on display

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 104 × 170 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCCIII 48

Catalogue entry

The drawing was made with the page turned horizontally. As identified by Cecilia Powell,1 it shows the ruins of Burg Rheinfels, since restored, high on the west bank of the River Rhine north-west of Sankt Goar.
Powell has noted that Turner neared the end of this tour following ‘the familiar route of the Rhine between Mainz and Cologne. He almost certainly travelled by steamer, ... sketching most of the well-known sights perfunctorily as he passed.’2 Given that this sketchbook was used in reverse of its subsequent foliation, she has specified the overall range of this phase as ‘TB CCCIII 68v–20v; 11r’,3 indicating folios 12 recto and 21 verso–69 verso (D30479, D30497–D30592; Turner Bequest CCCIII 20a–68a); see this book’s Introduction for the full itinerary of this part of the journey.
Burg Rheinfels is also shown on folios 49 verso, 50 recto and 51 recto (D30553–D30554, D30556; CCCIII 48a, 49, 50). For other views, see the 1817 Rhine sketchbook (Tate D12918–D12923, D12930–D12932, D12935–D12937, D12952–D12960; Turner Bequest CLXI 21a–24, 26c–27a, 29–30, 37a–42), the 1833 Brussels up to Mannheim – Rhine sketchbook (D29709–D29710, D29712–D29714; CCXCVI 58a, 59, 60–61), the 1839 Trèves to Cochem and Coblenz to Mayence sketchbook (D28455–D28457, D28506–D28507, D28509–D28510; CCXC 53–54, 78a, 79a, 79c, 79d), and the 1844 Rhine and Rhine Castles sketchbook (D35185, D35209, D35211, D35213–D35215; CCCLI 8a, 20a, 21a, 22a–23a).
There are three 1817 watercolours of the vicinity: Katz Castle and Rheinfels (private collection);4 Rheinfels Looking to Katz and Goarhausen (Yale Center for British Art, New Haven);5 and From Rheinfels Looking over St Goar to Katz (currently untraced).6 The 1839 watercolour Oberwesel on the Rhine has a pencil sketch on the verso showing Sankt Goar and Rheinfels (Indianapolis Museum of Art).7 There is a watercolour of about 1841, Burg Rheinfels on the Rhine (private collection),8 another of about 1844, Burg Rheinfels (National Museum Wales, Cardiff),9 and an undated one watermarked 1833, A Castle on the Rhine, probably Rheinfels (currently untraced).10

Matthew Imms
September 2018

Powell 1995, p.246.
Ibid., p.72.
Ibid., p.82 note 70.
Andrew Wilton, J.M.W. Turner: His Life and Work, Fribourg 1979, p.375 no.649, reproduced.
Ibid., no.650, reproduced.
Ibid., p.378 no.677, reproduced.
Ibid., p.462 no.1347, as ‘Rheinfels’, ?1844, reproduced.
Ibid., p.459 no.1327, as ‘A castle in the mountains’, ?1844, reproduced.
Ibid., pp.461–2 no.1345, as ‘Ehrenbreitstein’, reproduced.
Not in Wilton 1979; see Turner Studies, vol.2, no.1, Summer 1982, p.58.

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