Joseph Mallord William Turner

Distant Views of Bouvignes and the Castle of Crèvecoeur, Looking up the Meuse to Dinant


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 52 a

Catalogue entry

In this series of sketches Turner pictures his first sights of the ruined castle of Crèvecoeur (‘Bouvine Chatux’) and the village of Bouvignes sheltered below it. ‘There are few sites more picturesque’, the Victorian author and journalist Dudley Costello writes of the fortress: its name, Crèvecoeur, given ‘as a taunt and defiance to the people of Dinant, the mortal enemies of those of Bouvignes’ (the French verb ‘Crever’ means to burst, break or even to die and ‘coeur’ is the word for heart, thus the name ‘Breaking Heart’).1 Constructed in 1320 to defend Bouvignes, the castle became ruined in 1554 when it was violently besieged by French troops.2 Legend has it that three widowed wives of local knights fought to defend Crèvecoeur alongside their army, but their efforts were in vain as ammunition ran out.3 The three women are said to have thrown themselves off the castle walls, rather dying than being captured by enemy forces.4
Bouvignes is only summarily suggested in Turner’s drawings, but the spire of the Church of Saint-Lambert is shown in almost all of the views. For more depictions of Crèvecoeur and its village, see Tate D19655, D19658, D19659, D20228, D28054, D28094, D28138, D28139, D28161; Turner Bequest CCXVI 53, 54a, 55, CCXX U, CCLXXXVII 9, 27a, 51, 51a, 64.

Alice Rylance-Watson
March 2014

Dudley Costello, A Tour through the Valley of the Meuse, London 1846, p.186.
‘Crèvecoeur’, Belgian Castles, accessed 7 April 2014,

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