Joseph Mallord William Turner

Cochem on the River Mosel, from above the Enderttal


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Watercolour and gouache on paper
Support: 142 × 194 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCXCII 27

Catalogue entry

The subject of this elemental scene was identified by Cecilia Powell.1 From an elevated viewpoint on the slopes of the Pinnerberg, Cochem is seen to the south up the River Mosel, with the ruins of the Burg (since elaborately restored and known as the Reichsburg) high up on the far side of the town, silhouetted against the sunlight. Powell has observed: ‘Like the final view of Cochem in 1839, looking straight into the sun [Tate D24723; Turner Bequest CCLIX 158, on blue paper], this scene is the most dynamic and colourful of the [1840 Mosel] series. The fact that no pencil is visible anywhere in this drawing suggests that some of Turner’s colouring at Cochem must have taken place out of doors.’2 Compare D28992 (CCXCII 45), an 1840 view with similar washes, but with considerable pencil detail too.
The strongly coloured effect and composition here, with the sun opposite a high tower, are also similar to those in a contemporary study of nearby Klotten (D28967; CCXCII 20). For numerous other 1840 studies of Cochem see under D28950 (Turner Bequest CCXCII 3); and for the full range of Mosel subjects associated with the present tour, see the Introduction to this subsection.
There is a slight pencil outline of Cochem on the verso (D41474), from a viewpoint off in the distance to the left here.
See Powell 1995, p.148.
Technical notes:
There is a short, closed tear half-way down the right-hand edge. The bright yellow contrasts strongly with the grey of the bare paper, while delicate strokes of white suggest a haze of reflected light from the slopes of the castle hill facing the sun.
Cecilia Powell has noted this as one of the many sheets of grey 1829 Bally, Ellen and Steart paper used on Turner’s 1840 tour, neatly torn as eighths or sixteenths of the overall sheet, with dimensions of around 190 x 280 or 140 x 190 mm, and variously worked with pencil, watercolour and gouache; see the technical notes in the overall Introduction for others.1

Matthew Imms
September 2018

See ibid., p.145.

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