Joseph Mallord William Turner

Graz from the Schlossberg, with the Uhrturm Overlooking the City and the River Mur; ?Schloss Feistritz, near Krieglach

1840

In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Graphite on paper
Dimensions
Support: 127 × 198 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D30079
Turner Bequest CCXCIX 41 a

Catalogue entry

This page was used horizontally for two drawings, both ways up. In the left foreground of the main view is the substantial medieval Uhrturm clocktower, with an enclosed wooden walkway above the dial, high on the Schlossberg (now a public park) overlooking Graz. The onion-domed tower of the Franziskanerkirche is below to the right, with the city and valley of the River Mur stretching away to the south. The Uhrturm appears in the distance in a view up from the other direction on folio 42 recto opposite (D30080).
As foliated, this is the first of the main run of Graz views in this sketchbook, continuing to folio 46 recto (D30079–D30088); see also folios 47 recto and 48 recto (D30090, D30092),1 as well as folios 2 verso, 3 recto and 5 recto (D30005–D30006, D30010). Folio 1 recto (D30002), inscribed ‘Gratz’, shows a hilly landscape likely in the vicinity. The capital of the Austrian state of Styria, it is the country’s second largest city after Vienna, about ninety miles to its north-east (see under folio 40 recto; D30076). Like other subjects in this sketchbook, the main sequence was likely made in reverse of its present foliated order, as set out in the Introduction. Folios 47 verso and 48 verso (D30091, D30093), previously thought to show Graz, are now identified as views of Ljubljana, from which Turner had travelled north-east through modern Slovenia, from the coast at Trieste (see under folio 57 recto; D30109).
Cecilia Powell has commented of Graz that ‘Turner made it the subject of more careful pencil sketches than Trieste’, with ‘views of the town with its fortress-crowned hill, its distinctive clock-tower, its churches and riverfront. He climbed the Schlossberg to look down on the town and walked along the river banks, sketching picturesque old houses and different aspects of the fortress’, which had been depleted after the Napoleonic Wars and planted with trees in the years immediately around Turner’s visit, but remained ‘enormously impressive at a distance.’2
The other way up is a smaller sketch of an apparently ruined castle among hills, perhaps labelled ‘Fi’ and tentatively identified by Powell as ‘Castle (?Feistritz)’,3 possibly indicating (among various possibilities in the region) Schloss Feistritz, north of the Graz-Vienna road between Krieglach and Mürzzuschlag, roughly twenty miles south-west of Schottwien, shown on the recto (D30078).

Matthew Imms
September 2018

1
See also Powell 1995, pp.66, 81 note 22.
2
Ibid., p.66.
3
Ibid., p.241.

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