Joseph Mallord William Turner

Cochem on the River Mosel, from the South-East

1840

In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Graphite, watercolour and gouache on paper
Dimensions
Support: 141 × 191 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D28950
Turner Bequest CCXCII 3

Display caption

Cochem is on the Mosel, near Coblenz in Germany.

Gallery label, July 2004

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Catalogue entry

In the 1909 Inventory Finberg was hesitant about the established identification,1 but Cecilia Powell has confirmed Cochem as the subject;2 the view is north-west down the River Mosel from the outer bank of the bend leading to the town from Sehl. High above to the left of centre is the ruin of the castle, since heavily restored with a forest of turrets and generally known as the Reichsburg, with the St Roch (Sankt Rochus) plague chapel picked out in white below to the left. On the distant skyline beyond the town and the steep Pinnerberg is the ruin of the Winneburg castle, also seen in a related view (Tate D29020; Turner Bequest CCXCII 69).
Powell has noted the similarities between this subject and that of an 1839 blue paper gouache (D28986; CCXCII 39), ‘though Turner’s viewpoint is now the left bank rather than in mid-river.’3 The much slighter pencil drawing on the verso here (D41477) may show a church on the river in the vicinity; there is a slight pencil variation of the present view on D41474 (CCXCII 27v), the verso of another Cochem view. Other contemporary studies are D28963, D28974, D28987, D28992, D41476 and D29000 (CCXCII 16, 27, 40, 45, 45v, 51).
See also the 1824 Rivers Meuse and Moselle sketchbook (Tate D19792–D19796; Turner Bequest CCXVI 121–123), the 1839 First Mossel and Oxford book (D28295–D28296, D28318–D28319; CCLXXXIX 3, 3a, 14a, 15), the Trèves to Cochem and Coblenz to Mayence book of the same year (D28357–D28363, D28422; CCXC 4–7, 36a) and the Cochem to Coblenz – Home book, again of 1839 (D28540–D28549, D41217; CCXCI 2–7).
There are several gouache studies on blue paper associated with the 1839 tour, some with ‘very similar viewpoints’ to those of 18404 (Tate D20238, D20253, D24723, D24725, D24806; Turner Bequest CCXXI E, T, CCLIX 158, 160, 241), another of as yet unconfirmed subject and date (D28948; CCXCII 1), and a further blue paper sheet linked to 1839 in the Indianapolis Museum of Art.5

For the full range of Mosel subjects associated with the present tour, see the Introduction to this subsection.
1
See Finberg 1909, II, p.937.
2
See Powell 1995, p.147.
3
Powell 1995, p.147.
4
See Powell 1995, p.132.
5
Andrew Wilton, J.M.W. Turner: His Life and Work, Fribourg 1979, p.419 no.1007, as ‘“Claude Lorraine’s Birthplace”, the Pont de Buzet?’, c.1832, reproduced; but see Powell 1995, p.142.

Matthew Imms
September 2018

1
See Powell 1995, p.145.

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