Joseph Mallord William Turner

Distant View of Bernkastel and the Landshut, Looking Upstream; Zeltingen and the Kunibertsburg; Near Zeltingen


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 118 × 78 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCXVI 106

Catalogue entry

Turner took this series of cursory sketches as he navigated the Moselle from Bernkastel (depicted in the uppermost sketch and on Tate D19757–D19759; Turner Bequest CCXVI 104a–105a) downstream to Zeltingen, shown in the remaining drawings and Tate D19761; Turner Bequest CCXVI 106a. The Kunibertsburg, a squat fort-like building with dimensions much like a cube, can be seen perched on a sheer cliff’s edge in each sketch of Zeltingen. Also known as the Rosenburg, the fortification is believed to be the birthplace of Archbishop Cunibert of Cologne (c.600–663).1 Zeltingen and its neighbour Rachtig were political enclaves of the Archdiocese of that city until the early nineteenth century, despite the town’s situation within the territory of the Electorate of Trier.2
Though these pencil sketches show little of its scale and colour, Cecilia Powell, having seen the Kunibertsburg for herself, writes that ‘the traveller’s attention is caught’ immediately its ‘dark’ and ‘forbidding’ presence, which ‘looms’ over the town close by and in stark contrast to the elegant Gothic Church of St Stephanus.3 In addition to these brief pencil sketches, Turner took a larger drawing of Zeltingen in the Moselle and Rhine sketchbook of 1824 (Tate D20183; Turner Bequest CCXIX 22). See also Tate D28405–D28406; Turner Bequest CCXC 28–28a and a watercolour and gouache drawing of c.1839 entitled Zeltingen and the Kunibertsberg (Private Collection; reproduced in Powell, 1991).4
An undeveloped and tiny sketch labelled with what appears to read ‘Makern Rh[...] Cov’ is located at right towards the rear of the page. This is probably a jotting of the Kloster Machern, a convent, depicted on Tate D19761; Turner Bequest CCXVI 106a. Turner has also produced a swift sketch of the Hermitage on the Michaelslei labelled ‘St Mic’ at far left towards the upper register. Located at Ürzig, this building is shown again on CCXVI 106a.

Alice Rylance-Watson
April 2014

Powell 1991, p.135 no.54

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