Joseph Mallord William Turner

Ehrenbreitstein and the Mosel Bridge at Coblenz; The Mosel Front at Coblenz Upstream of the Bridge


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Prints and Drawings Room

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Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 100 × 156 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCXCI 34 a

Catalogue entry

Turner developed the largest of these pencil sketches of Koblenz into an evocative and richly coloured gouache towards the end of 1839 (National Galleries of Scotland).1 The Moselle is shown in the foreground, traversed by an ancient stone bridge, flowing towards the point of its confluence with the Rhine. The steeply gabled twin towers of the Romanesque Basilica of St Castor can be seen at right, and next to it, the ornate baroque twin towers of the Liebfrauenkirche. The entire view is dominated by the citadel of Ehrenbreitstein, which crowns a ridge on the east bank of the Rhine.
Parallel to the gutter of the sketchbook Turner has rendered a further view of the city from the stone bridge. The Liebfrauenkirche is visible at left.
For other drawings of Ehrenbreitstein and Koblenz in this sketchbook see Tate D28596, D28605–D28607; Turner Bequest CCXCI 31, 35a–36a. See also the Trèves to Cochem and Coblenz to Mayence sketchbook (Tate D28351D28353, D28356, D28437–D28447, D28530–D28533 and the First Mossel and Oxford sketchbook (Tate D28301–D28303, D28306, D28316, D28317; Turner Bequest CCLXXXIX 6–7, 8a, 13a, 14).
For earlier depictions of Ehrenbreitstein see the Waterloo and Rhine sketchbook of 1817 (Tate D12781–D12783, D12802–D12806, D12809; Turner Bequest CLX 42–43, 52a–54a, 56); the Rhine sketchbook of the same date (Tate D12894, D12899, D12901–D12902, D12908; Turner Bequest 7, 10, 11–11a, 15); the Rivers Meuse and Moselle sketchbook of 1824 (Tate D19785, D19818–D19821, D19826–D19830; Turner Bequest CCXVI 117a, 134–135a, 140). There are also a number of fine colour drawings depicting the fortress and neighbouring Coblenz, some of which include: Tate D24804, D24809, D24833, D36138, D36206; Turner Bequest CCLIX 239, 244, 268, CCCLXIV 285, 346.

Alice Rylance-Watson
August 2013

Andrew Wilton, J.M.W. Turner: His Life and Work, Fribourg 1979, p.422 no.1034.

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