Joseph Mallord William Turner

Linz, with the Bridge on the River Danube, from Downstream and Upstream; Boats on the Danube; Views of a Castle among Hills

1840

In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Graphite on paper
Dimensions
Support: 198 × 127 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D30051
Turner Bequest CCXCIX 26

Catalogue entry

This page was used vertically both ways for five sketches, at least three of which show River Danube scenes.1 At the top, labelled ‘Lintz’, is a view of Linz, looking south-west upstream to the old bridge. Today the waterfront has been largely redeveloped, but the Baroque spire of the Stadtpfarrkirche and the bulky outline of the Linzer Schloss (now a museum) remain recognisable. The second view, inscribed ‘L’, is east downstream from beyond the bridge, with the church now on the right. See also the 1833 Salzburg and Danube sketchbook (Tate D30229–D30235, D30237–D30238; Turner Bequest CCC 50a–53a, 54a, 55). Cecilia Powell has observed that in 1840 ‘highly scenic spots such as Melk [see folio 25 verso opposite; D30050] or Linz were jotted down only once or twice and in a careless fashion.’2
Below is a study of cargo boats or barges on the river, with a small disk low over the hills and its zig-zag reflection marking the rising or setting sun. The other way up at the bottom are two related drawings of what seems to be the same extensive array of castle towers set on a crag, from far off and in more detail from closer up.
The latter subject remains unidentified, but may have been from an earlier stage of the journey encompassed by this sketchbook, as there appears to be a slight overlap with another unidentified view opposite (D30050), seemingly drawn before the first of the identified Danube sketches there, from rather earlier in the Vienna-Passau phase. Although Turner’s route upriver was straightforward, his somewhat haphazard use of this book to record it and other subjects was not. For the geographical sequence of identified Danube views between the two cities (see under folios 40 recto and 31 recto; D30076, D30058), see this sketchbook’s Introduction.
1
See Powell 1995, p.241.
2
Ibid., p.68; see also p.81 note 32.
Technical notes:
There is a raised brown spot (apparently a small, flattened insect) adhering to the surface of the page towards the bottom centre.

Matthew Imms
September 2018

Read full Catalogue entry

You might like