Joseph Mallord William Turner

Burg Werfenstein on the River Danube, with the Strudel and Schloss Wörth in the Distance

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
D30069
Turner Bequest CCXCIX 36 a

Catalogue entry

There are two similar views here, inverted relative to each other on the vertical page and made one immediately after the other while travelling up the River Danube, as identified by Cecilia Powell.1 Going by the slightly different juxtaposition of the two main elements, the one at the bottom of the page as foliated was drawn first, with Burg Werfenstein high on the north bank in the right foreground; for other views see under folio 32 recto (D30060). Beyond is the outline of Insel Wörth, in the middle of the river upstream to the west, surmounted by the ruins of Schloss Wörth (no longer extant); the second view is from slightly further west, with more emphasis on the northern channel below the island, where the Strudel rapids awaited; for views on adjacent pages, see under folio 31 verso (D30059).
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 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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