Joseph Mallord William Turner

Distant View of Coblenz and Ehrenbreitstein


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Gouache and watercolour on paper
Support: 139 × 190 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCXXII B

Display caption

The distant silhouette of Ehrenbreitstein, high above the confluence of the Rhine and the Mosel, was visible for miles to the traveller journeying down the Mosel. Turner recorded it several times in pencil sketches but this brilliantly coloured study does not correspond precisely to any of these and is, above all, a generalised and impressionistic recollection of his experiences.

Gallery label, August 2004

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Catalogue entry

This vividly coloured drawing shows the city of Koblenz and Ehrenbreitstein citadel from a distance. Turner employs a palette of brilliant burnt orange, indigo, mauve and lemon yellow to evoke a sunset light. As Cecilia Powell writes, this ‘gouache does not correspond precisely’ to any one preparatory pencil study, ‘and is, above all, a generalised and impressionistic recollection’ of Turner’s experiences.1
For other of Turner’s 1839 gouaches of Ehrenbreitstein and Koblenz see Tate D24804, D24809, D24833; Turner Bequest CCLIX 239, 244, 268 and Coblenz and Ehrenbreitstein from the Moselle at the National Galleries of Scotland, Edinburgh.2
Powell 1991, p.148 no.79.
Andrew Wilton, J.M.W. Turner: His Life and Work, Fribourg 1979, p.422 no.1034.
Inscribed in pencil ‘92’ centre and ‘G’ top left.

Alice Rylance-Watson
September 2013

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