Joseph Mallord William Turner

Cochem, Looking Downstream (plus Sketch of the Burg); Cochem, Looking Downstream from closer to the Town; Cochem, Looking Downstream


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 235 × 140 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCLXXXIX 3

Catalogue entry

These finely wrought sketches depict the hills and valleys surrounding the fortified city of Cochem at various perspectives and distances. Its principal castle, the Reichsburg, can be seen in all of the views. The castle was first mentioned in a document of 1051 and was for many years the established seat of the palatinate counts until the first German King Konrad III declared it an imperial castle.1 It fell into ruin after an occupation by the French King Louis XIV over the course of the Nine Years War and remained in a decaying state until 1868 when it was rebuilt in the Gothic revival architectural style.2 Turner captures its crumbling and pitted silhouette in each of these views. Other depicted landmarks include the ruins of Winneburg Castle, the city’s medieval walls, and the Plague Chapel of Saint Roch.
The arrangement of these landscape sketches is characteristic of many others in this book. A series of three or four views run horizontally across the page with the book orientated to portrait, allowing Turner to record the largest number of prospects on one sheet (see, for example, Tate D28305–D28315; Turner Bequest CCLXXXIX 8–13).
For further depictions of Cochem in this sketchbook see Tate D28296, D28318, D28319; Turner Bequest CCLXXXIX 3a, 14a, 15. See also the Trèves to Cochem and Coblenz to Mayence sketchbook which also belongs to the 1839 tour (Tate D28357–D28363; Turner Bequest CCXC 4–7). For earlier views see the Rivers Meuse and Moselle sketchbook of 1824 (Tate D19792–D19796; Turner Bequest CCXVI 121–123).

Alice Rylance-Watson
August 2013

‘History of Cochem Castle’, Reichsburg, Cochem,, accessed 11 July 2013.

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