Joseph Mallord William Turner

Burg Werfenstein, near the Strudel on the River Danube

1840

In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Graphite on paper
Dimensions
Support: 198 × 127 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D30068
Turner Bequest CCXCIX 36

Catalogue entry

Using the vertical page both ways up, there are two successive studies of the small but dramatically sited Burg Werfenstein, perched on the north bank of the River Danube, as identified by Cecilia Powell.1 The one at the top was made first, looking up from the south; the second, inverted, is from the south-west, after Turner’s boat had travelled a little way upstream. The detail of the castle to the right of the corresponding part of the main view was made immediately afterwards, having moved on again a little further north-west towards the Strudel rapids; for adjacent views of the castle, see under folio 32 recto (D30060).
Discussing Turner’s Danube route between folios 31 verso–38 recto (D30059–D30072;2 like much of this sketchbook, apparently used in reverse of their present foliation), Powell has observed that within a brief stretch of two or three miles his ‘most intensive sequence of sketches, occupying fourteen pages, was made during the steamer’s cautious passage upstream from St Nikola to Grein, past the Wirbel and the Strudel’3 (see under folio 31 verso for the latter; D30059); these hazardous features, shown on old maps respectively east and west of Struden and nearby Burg Werfenstein, no longer exist following the elimination of associated rocks to improve navigation later in the nineteenth century.
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.

Matthew Imms
September 2018

1
See Powell 1995, p.241.
2
See ibid., p.81 note 32.
3
Ibid., p.68.

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