Joseph Mallord William Turner

Huy from the Ahin Road, Looking Downstream


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 78 × 118 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCXVI 41 a

Catalogue entry

This rough and swiftly rendered sketch shows Huy, taken by Turner from a vantage point on the Ahin road. Views of Huy from a similar westerly perspective include: Tate D19634, D20093, D20222; Turner Bequest CCXVI 42 a, CCXVII 6a, CCXX O. The arched bridge, Collegiate Church of Notre-Dame and the citadel can be seen. Huy’s fortress, annotated by Turner with the numbers ‘2’, ‘8’ and ‘4’, occupies a commanding position over the Meuse valley, its foundations cemented deeply into the limestone cliffs. As a result of its location, the fortress historically has been ‘a great object of contention’, according to the travel writer Bartholomew Stritch who toured the area in the 1840s. 1 The citadel was ‘taken and retaken, numberless times during the wars that so long devastated’ Wallonia and Belgium at large.2 Stritch writes that after 1815 the building was ‘repaired, augmented and put in the most formidable state of defence’ with a:
great portion of the works... hewn out of the solid rock, and towering walls of massive masonry superadded to the precipices upon which it stands to render it impregnable.3
In their 1974 catalogue, Turner scholars Martin Butlin, Andrew Wilton and John Gage mistakenly connected this pencil sketch to a gouache and watercolour drawing entitled Bridge over a River under a High Cliff, dated 1828.4 This colour drawing was later found to show Dinant, on the Meuse, from the South c.1839 and thus has no relationship to the present sketch.

Alice Rylance-Watson
March 2014

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.24.
Ibid, p.25.
Butlin, Wilton, and Gage 1974, p.115 no.376.

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