As identified by Cecilia Powell, Turner’s subject in this horizontal sketch is Heidelberg, on the River Neckar in south-western Germany, ‘from the window of his room in the Prinz Carl hotel, showing the Kornmarkt and the castle’.1 The view is south-east from the west side of the square, with its Baroque statue of the Virgin and Child towards the bottom left, up to the looming, partly ruined castle. Compare an 1843 engraving from Antsichten von dem Schloss und der Stadt Heidelberg, a view towards the castle from the square, showing the hotel in the foreground.2
This is the only view of the town Turner made on this tour, but there are numerous pencil studies in his 1833 Heidelberg up to Salzburg sketchbook (see Tate D29814–D29864; Turner Bequest CCXCVIII 1–26), and more in sketchbooks of 1841 and 1844; see Alice Rylance-Watson’s entry for D29815 (CCXVIII 1a) in the present catalogue for these and related works.
Turner had not used the present sketchbook since Rotterdam, roughly 250 miles to the north-west (see folios 1 verso and 2 recto; D32264–D32265), having sketched in pencil and watercolour on separate sheets through Germany, on a detour along the River Mosel and then up the Rhine; see the Introduction to the tour and the parallel subsection of drawings made on the outward route towards Venice.3 Heidelberg stands a few miles up the Neckar from the Rhine confluence.
Inscriptions at right-angles to the right (aligned with the sketchbook’s foliation), apparently read ‘Fanenbergh | St Gebert’. In unpublished notes, Finberg interpreted them as indicating ‘?Pfänderberg | ?Gebhardsberg, nr Bregentz’ (sic).4 Bregenz, the next identified subject in this book, roughly two hundred miles to the south in western Austria, is shown on several adjacent pages; see under folio 2 verso opposite (D32266), where the Pfänder mountain overlooks the city, while the Gebhardsberg, named after St Gebhard, Bishop of Bregenz, appears in other views.