Joseph Mallord William Turner

Gondorf and Niederfell, Looking Downstream; View up the Rhine from the Landing-Stage at Coblenz, with the Bridge of Boats at Ehrenbreitstein


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 140 × 235 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCLXXXIX 4

Catalogue entry

At right is a slight sketch of the villages of Gondorf and Niederfell, situated at opposite sides of the Moselle amongst towering cliffs. Turner has inscribed ‘Niderfell’ at the foot of the view.
To the left is a view of Koblenz, taken from the river in front of a landing stage. The pontoon bridge, the domed Church of the Holy Cross, and the fortress of Ehrenbreitstein can be seen beyond. This sketch and that on folio 6 recto (Tate D28301; Turner Bequest CCLXXXIX 6) is similar in composition and viewpoint to a gouache and watercolour drawing of the citadel (Tate D24804; Turner Bequest CCLIX 239)
A citadel has dominated this site on the east bank of the Rhine since the eleventh century.1 Besieged by the French during their revolutionary wars, it was later expanded under the orders of the Prussian King Friedrich Wilhelm III between 1817 and 1828 to guard the middle Rhine region. Owing to its colossal dimensions, the fortress was described by Bartholomew Stritch as a ‘gigantic and almost “cloud capt” citadel’ during his 1845 tour of the Moselle and Rhine regions.2
For other drawings of Ehrenbreitstein and Koblenz in this sketchbook see Tate D28301–D28303, D28306, D28316, D28317; Turner Bequest CCLXXXIX 6–7, 8a, 13a, 14. For other 1839 drawings of the fortress see the Trèves to Cochem and Coblenz to Mayence sketchbook (Tate D28351D28353, D28356, D28437–D28447, D28530–D28533; Turner Bequest CCXC 1–2, 3a, 44–49, 88–89a); and the Cochem to Coblenz – Home sketchbook (Tate D28603, D28605–D28607; Turner Bequest CCXCI 34a, 35a–36a).
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 Koblenz, some of which include: Tate D24804, D24809, D24833, D36138, D36206; Turner Bequest CCLIX 239, 244, 268, CCCLXIV 285, 346.
‘Festung Ehrenbreitstein’, Koblenz-Touristik,, accessed 11 July 2013.
Bartholomew Stritch, The Meuse, the Moselle, and the Rhine; or, A six weeks' tour through the finest river scenery in Europe, by B.S., London 1845, p.68

Alice Rylance-Watson
August 2013

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