Three fluid, assured colour studies in this sketchbook (D33671–D33673; Turner Bequest CCCXL 6, 7, 8) are thematically unrelated to the colour and pencil studies of sites within a concentrated area along the rivers around Passau in south-eastern Germany, from which it takes its current title (see the Introduction), instead perhaps ‘evoking instead the heavy skies of the English Channel’, as Ian Warrell has noted.1 John Ruskin had assessed them as ‘mere effects’.2
Turner’s extensive Continental itinerary back towards London from Venice and a brief voyage along the Adriatic coast to Trieste (see the Trieste, Graz and Danube sketchbook; Tate; Turner Bequest CCXCIX) concluded with numerous pencil studies at Ostend on the Belgian North Sea coast (see under Tate D30460; Turner Bequest CCCIII 1, in the Würzburg, Rhine and Ostend book). There are a few relatively featureless sea studies associated with its Lagoon setting, gathered in a parallel subsection of this tour. The skies here seem more muted, and may have been directly observed while awaiting embarkation, or perhaps recollected shortly afterwards.
There are many such topographically unspecific studies on separate sheets from Turner’s later years; see John Chu’s ‘Coastal Scenes and Shipping c.1820–45’ section of this catalogue, often with the horizon placed quite high as the fulcrum between the sky and water. Compare for example Tate D35921, D35924 and D35995 (Turner Bequest CCCLXIV 78, 81, 151). It is no doubt fortuitous that the Como and Venice sketchbook, used for Turner’s first colour studies of the city in 1819, also contains similar exercises (Tate D15261–D15264; Turner Bequest CLXXXI 10–13).
A strong acid green has been used for the sea, and is also present in the clouds. There is a thin streak of undiluted yellow towards the bottom right, and another spot at the bottom left.
Blank; stamped in black with Turner Bequest monogram over ‘CCCXL – 6’ bottom right.