Joseph Mallord William Turner

Copenhagen: The Round Tower as Seen from Store Kannikestraede, plus a Detail of its Doorway and One of a Window; Hamburg: The Niederhafen from the West

1835

In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Graphite on paper
Dimensions
Support: 92 × 155 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D30861
Turner Bequest CCCV 21

Catalogue entry

The principal sketch shows Hamburg. Turner pictures its Niederhafen or Lower Port from a westerly perspective (see Tate D30858; Turner Bequest CCCV 19a).
The other sketch, rendered with the book turned upside down, depicts Copenhagen University’s Rundetårn or Round Tower. This seventeenth century cylindrical tower was commissioned by King Christian IV as an astronomical observatory.1 A gilded rebus decorates the uppermost façade, transcribed by Turner as: ‘doctrinamet | dirige | [Hebrew Script] | in | [Icon] | 16 [Icon] 42’. Written in Latin and Hebrew with icons of a sword, crown and heart, the rebus translates as ‘Let the Lord guide learning and justice in the heart of Christian IV, crowned 1642’.2
For other drawings of Copenhagen see Tate D30824–D30829, D30832–D30833, D30859, D30861, D30873, D30881, D30883, D30887; Turner Bequest CCCV 2–5, 6a–7, 20, 21, 27, 31, 32, 34.

Alice Rylance-Watson
April 2015

1
‘Short Intro’, The Round Tower, accessed 7 May 2015, http://www.rundetaarn.dk/en/the-tower/facts/
2
‘The Danish Astronomical Observatories’, University of Copenhagen, accessed 7 May 2015, http://www.e-pages.dk/ku/196/38

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