Rendered with agile and deliberate line, Turner represents the picturesque town of Cochem on the Moselle’s left bank. Bartholomew Stritch, recalling his visit to the town in 1845, wrote that there were ‘few more attractive pictures than that offered by Cochem, situated at the extremity of a basin formed by the Moselle, surrounded by picturesque groups of rocks, with the extensive ruins of two ancient castles, upon the heights in the background’.1
Turner’s view is from the south and incorporates the Reichsburg rising more than one hundred metres above the river atop a conical hill and below it, the Plague Chapel of Saint Roch (known as the Pestkapelle St Rochus or the Peterskapelle in German). The town walls and one of its gates line the riverbank. At the middle distance is St Martin’s Church (depicted in the gouache and watercolour drawing Tate D20253; Turner Bequest CCXXI T) and in the distance the ruins of Cochem’s second castle, the Winneburg. This sketch formed the basis of a gouache and watercolour drawing produced in around 1839 (Tate D28986; Turner Bequest CCXCII 39); a further colour drawing dated 1840 may have also originated from it (Tate D28950; Turner Bequest CCXCII 3).
For further depictions of Cochem in this sketchbook see Tate D28360–D28363; Turner Bequest CCXC 5a–7. See also the First Mossel and Oxford sketchbook belonging to the 1839 tour (Tate D28295, D28296, D28318, D28319; Turner Bequest CCLXXXIX 3, 3a, 14a, 15). For earlier views see the Rivers Meuse and Moselle sketchbook of 1824 (Tate D19792–D19796; Turner Bequest CCXVI 121–123).
Bartholomew Stritch, The Meuse, the Moselle, and the Rhine; or, A six weeks' tour through the finest river scenery in Europe, by B.S., London 1845, p.57.
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