Joseph Mallord William Turner

Hamburg: View across the Binnenalster with the Gertrudkirche and Jacobikirche


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 92 × 155 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCCV 17 a

Display caption

The sketches of Hamburg, Kiel and Copenhagen in this book confirm that the Turner mentioned in a Hamburg newspaper of 3 September 1835 and the Turner listed in a Copenhagen newspaper as arriving by sea from Kiel on 6 September were both, indeed, J.M.W. Turner. His Copenhagen sketches are often squeezed into the spaces left by the Hamburg ones and several pages are stained by water. One of the finest sights in Hamburg is that of its many church spires across Binnenalster lake. Turner could only record this here by drawing it in numbered instalments, with separate details, a method he often used when short of time and paper.

Gallery label, September 2004

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Catalogue entry

This sketch comprises instalment ‘1’ of one panoramic view of Hamburg, Germany. The other two instalments are continued on the folio opposite (Tate D30855; Turner Bequest CCCV 18). Turner produced this view from a vantage point looking across the Binnenalster Lake towards the Old Town. The dome of St Gertrude’s Chapel is to the left of St James’ Church (the Jacobikirche); details of the dome and spire are repeated in the sky by each respective building.
St Gertrude’s Chapel was built in 1391 by a charitable fraternity associated with the Jacobikirche and were chiefly devoted to caring for the poor and the sick.1 In 1842 the building burnt down in the great fire and was never reconstructed.
For more sketches of Hamburg see Tate D30842–D30860, D30862–D30870, D30872, D30874–D30880, D30882–D30886; Turner Bequest CCCV 11a–20a, 21a–25a, 26a, 27a–30a, 31a–33a.

Alice Rylance-Watson
April 2015

‘Hamburg Gertrudenmusik’, Magnificat Baroque, accessed 7 May 2015,

Read full Catalogue entry

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