Joseph Mallord William Turner

Dinant, Looking Upstream from the West Bank


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 99 × 162 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCXVII 19

Catalogue entry

This drawing was produced with the sketchbook turned upside down.
This finely wrought study of Dinant shows the city from the west bank looking upstream, the opposite vantage point to that shown on Tate D20109–D20112; Turner Bequest CCXVII 16–18. The drawing reveals to full effect the sheer scale of the ridge which looms over the town and the angles of the mighty citadel rising perpendicularly from the rock. Although the fortress was finished in 1821, by the time of Turner’s visit the hoist which had been used in its construction was still attached. This piece of equipment, depicted in the present drawing, raised stone imported from the barges on the Meuse up to the site over one hundred metres above ground level.1 The Collegiate Church of Notre-Dame and stone bridge are also in full view, framed in the foreground by a group of moored boats.
For other 1824 drawings of Dinant, see those in the Rivers Meuse and Moselle (Tate D19554, D19559, D19654–D19657, D19659, D19662–D19663; Turner Bequest CCXVI 2, 4a, 52a–54, 55, 56a–57). For later views, particularly sketches taken in 1839, see Tate D28094, D28122, D28125, D28142, D28147, D28153, D28155–D28158, D28160–D28166, D41091; Turner Bequest CCLXXXVII 27a, 42a, 44a, 53, 56a, 59a, 60a–62a, 63a–66a. There is also a series of colour drawings executed in gouache and watercolour: Tate D20227, D20228, D24724, D28984; Turner Bequest CCXX T, U; CCLIX 159, CCXCII 37.
Powell 1991, p.41.
Technical notes:
The paper has mottled and browned significantly, a result of the drawing’s prolonged exhibition and exposure to sunlight during the nineteenth century.

Alice Rylance-Watson
January 2014

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