Turner addressed Ehrenbreitstein, the imposing fortress complex overlooking the River Rhine opposite its confluence with the Mosel at Coblenz (Koblenz), on many occasions, ranging between slight pencil sketches, colour studies, finished watercolours and an oil painting, as noted below. The lack of detail in the present atmospheric example led to its being called ‘Sketch in France’1 and ‘Castle on mountain’2 in early catalogues, and it was not until 1995 that Cecilia Powell published its true subject, as the ‘last rays of sun catch its high walls while the lower parts of the east bank of the Rhine are already in shadow ... and the masts of the bridge of boats are reflected in the still waters of the foreground.’3
Sketchbooks from other tours include numerous pencil studies: 1817: Waterloo and Rhine and Rhine (Tate; Turner Bequest CLX, CLXI); 1824: Rivers Meuse and Moselle and Trèves and Rhine (CCXVI, CCXVIII; the latter also in watercolour); 1833: Brussels up to Manheim – Rhine (CCXCVI); 1835: Prague, Nuremberg, Frankfurt and Rhine (CCCIV); 1839: First Mossel and Oxford, Trèves to Cochem and Coblenz to Mayence and Cochem to Coblenz – Home (CCLXXXIX, CCXC, CCXCI); 1841: Bern, Heidelberg and Rhine (CCCXXVI); and Rotterdam and Rhine, perhaps from the 1840s (CCCXXII).
There are also various pencil drawings on separate Turner Bequest sheets, and colour studies on blue paper associated with the 1839 tour (Tate D20261, D24804, D24809, D24833; Turner Bequest CCXXII B, CCLIX 239, 244, 268; and National Gallery of Scotland, Edinburgh4). A series of more atmospheric colour studies on white paper followed in 1841 (D35863, D36138, D36166, D36177, D36186, D36206, D40181; CCCLXIV 26, 285, 309, 319, 328, 346, and 328a; and private collection5).
Cook and Wedderburn 1904, p.640.
Finberg 1909, II, p.938.
Powell 1995, p.155.
Andrew Wilton, J.M.W. Turner: His Life and Work, Fribourg 1979, p.422 no.1034, reproduced.
Ibid., p.461 no.1340, reproduced, as ‘A fort on the Moselle or Rhine(?)’, ?1844.
Ibid., p.376 no.656, reproduced.
Ibid., p.379 no.687, reproduced.
Ibid., p.424 no.1051, reproduced.
Ibid., p.459 no.1320.
Ibid., pp.454–5 no.1289, reproduced.
Martin Butlin and Evelyn Joll, The Paintings of J.M.W. Turner, revised ed., New Haven and London 1984, pp.211–12 no.361, pl.366 (colour).
- River Rhine(674)