Joseph Mallord William Turner

Cochem, on the Moselle


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Gouache, graphite and watercolour on paper
Support: 140 × 195 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCXCII 1

Technique and condition

This work has been executed on a medium weight, blue/grey, wove paper in gouache, pencil and watercolour. All four edges have been torn rather than cut.
There is a small imperfection in paper the top left-hand quarter of the recto (in the blue mountain), when held up to the light the sheet is clearly thin in this area. On the verso there is also some brownish discolouration in this area. This may simply be an imperfection in the sheet or it could have been caused by something nicking and paper and removing some of the surface, thus thinning out the sheet in this one small area. There is a ridge around the edges of the recto, caused by a frame or lining tape. There is also a crease travelling vertically from the bottom edge of the recto, approximately 55 mm from the left hand edge of the recto. It is approximately 10 mm long and there is media loss along the crease. There are small areas of skinning in the bottom right and bottom left hand corners of the recto. The edges of the recto are very slightly brighter than the rest of the image suggesting that at some point they were protected from light damage by a frame. There is a small, light brown stain near the top edge of the recto approximately 60 mm from the left-hand edge.
The paint application in this composition is made up of a series of fairly dry washes, allowing the paper to show through the paint to create texture and depth in the landscape. In particular the various blues of the sea and sky are pigment dense washes. The blue/grey of the paper has been used to great effect in this work, contrasting with the strong oranges and reds at the centre of the composition. A peachy coloured gouache has been used in the very centre of the composition to indicate the stonework of the architecture. Red watercolour, painted with a fine brush was used to add the linear detail after the rest of the composition was completed. The work is in good condition with the colours retaining much of their vibrancy.

Helen Evans
August 2009

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