Here Turner pictures the Meuse’s calm waters in Belgium’s Namur Province, with golden yellow cornfields at right. A riverboat sails the placid river at left, the vessel plunged into dark green shadow by a wall of blackened limestone cliff. Poilvache Castle, a medieval stronghold in ruins, is just visible in the distance.
The English journalist and novelist Dudley Costello (1803–1865) visited Poilvache during his tour of the Meuse region in the mid-1840s. He writes that the ruined castle sits within
ten acres of ground or more. It is very much overgrown with shrubs, wild cherry, dwarf oak, hazel, and barberry, and the turf is one carpet of wild thyme filled with bees... The view of the country from the battlements of Poilvache is most magnificent, and the course of the Meuse can be traced for several miles.1
Dudley Costello, A tour through the valley of the Meuse: with the legends of the Walloon country and the Ardennes, 2nd ed., London 1846,pp.255–6.
Stamped in black with Turner Bequest monogram and ‘CCXXIII A’ at bottom right.