Joseph Mallord William Turner

Cochem from the South


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Gouache and watercolour on paper
Support: 140 × 189 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCXCII 39

Display caption

Cochem was - and remains - the largest town on the Mosel between Trier and Coblenz, with two ruined castles and many ancient buildings, towers and walls. Turner gave it very close attention, painting the town from several different directions (nos.63, 66-68) and - a rarity among his gouache studies - a pair of vertical scenes focusing on particularly picturesque ensembles (nos.64-65). Many of the same colours are used throughout the group, but Turner's handling of them is as varied as his viewpoints, the delicacy of no.67 and the economy of no.68 being especially noteworthy.

Gallery label, August 2004

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Catalogue entry

This gouache of the German town of Cochem is similar in colour and handling to Turner’s other 1839 gouache, Cochem from the North (Tate D20238; Turner Bequest CCXXI E). In both, the artist renders a mirror-like sheen to the surface of the Moselle, softly diffusing the reflections from the riverbank into the river. Turner clearly found inspiring and fruitful subject matter in Cochem, given that he painted more views of it than of any other town or village on the Moselle.1 There are seven gouaches of Cochem, of which five are in the Turner Bequest (see also D20253, D24723, D24725, D24806; Turner Bequest CCXXI T, CCLIX 158, 160, 241).
Turner makes Cochem’s Reichsburg Castle the focal point of this composition, the viewpoint emphasising its precarious perch on the summit of a conical mount. Beneath the castle is the tiny Plague Chapel of Saint Roch and a stretch of the fortified town wall, punctuated at either end by defensive gates. Cochem itself lies in the middle distance with the Church of Saint Martin (see Tate D20253; Turner Bequest CCXXI T) at centre and beyond the town’s second castle: the Winneburg. This view was first recorded in a pencil sketch in the Trèves to Cochem and Coblenz to Mayence sketchbook (see Tate D28359; Turner Bequest CCXC 5).
Powell 1995, p.132 no.52.
Stamped in black with Turner Bequest monogram and ‘CCXCII–39’ at bottom left; inscribed in pencil ‘107 b’ centre right and ‘CCXCII–39’ bottom centre.

Alice Rylance-Watson
September 2013

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