This rather scrappy and rapidly executed sketch shows a hill with fortifications atop it. This sketch is part of a short series of jottings which are all of a piece in terms of handling and subject matter (see Tate D19877–D19880, D19882; Turner Bequest CCXVI 161a–163, 165). Cecilia Powell writes that this series of sketches was taken as Turner made his way by canal boat from Ghent through Bruges to Ostend.1 The topography and form of the fortification, however, do not appear Flemish to this cataloguer; rather, they appear reminiscent of the fortress of Ehrenbreitstein at Koblenz, a citadel overlooking the confluence of the Moselle and Rhine Rivers in Germany.
Ehrenbreitstein was sketched, studied and painted by Turner over one hundred times. His earliest drawings are from 1817, and include: Tate D12802–D12806, D12809, D12894–D12908; Turner Bequest CLX 52a–54a, 56, CLXI 7–15 and other 1824 drawings of the citadel are: Tate D19785, D19818–D19821, D19826–D19830; Turner Bequest CCXVI 117a, 134–135a, 138–140. Later drawings from 1839 and colour studies can be found on: Tate D24804, D24809, D24833, D25307, D28302–D28303, D28351–D28356, D28444–D28447, D28529–D28536, D28603–D28609, D26613–D28614; Turner Bequest CCLIX 239, 244, 268, CCLXIII 185, CCLXXXIX 6a–7, CCXC 1–3a, 47a–49, 87a–91, CCXCI 34a–37a, 39a–40.
Powell 1991, p.43 note 32 [p.60]