Joseph Mallord William Turner

Luxembourg from the Alzette Valley to the North


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

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Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Gouache and watercolour on paper
Support: 140 × 187 mm
Bequeathed by Beresford Rimington Heaton 1940

Catalogue entry

Beresford Rimington Heaton 1940
This is a view of Luxembourg from the northern section of the Alzette valley, looking back towards the city. The prospect shows the citadel of Saint-Esprit, rising perpendicularly from the Pétrusse valley, with the seventeenth-century tower of the Jesuit church at right (see Tate D20248; Turner Bequest CCXXI O). A small fortified bridge is pictured in the foreground connecting the two banks of the Alzette. The structure is shrouded in a heavy-hanging mist and appears dwarfed by the gorges and colossal walls of stone which surround it. Turner employs a rich and varied palette here, a combination of dusty rose, burnt orange, terracotta, gold and violet. The addition of a tiny crescent moon, floating in a cloudless sky towards top right, implies that the time of day is either sunset or dawn.
Turner incorporated elements of a number of preparatory pencil sketches to create this drawing. They include: Tate D28281–D28283, D28285–D28287; Turner Bequest CCLXXXVIII 64–5, 66–7. Similar gouache and watercolour drawings of Luxembourg are: Tate D20245–D20247; D20272; Turner Bequest CCXXI L–M, CCXXII M.
This work was one of two gouache drawings bequeathed to the Tate Gallery in 1940 by the Yorkshire solicitor and collector Beresford Rimington Heaton (1863–?).1 The reader will notice that the provenance of this drawing is rather incomplete; and, despite the efforts of many art historians, a history of ownership has not yet been traced before Heaton’s purchase and bequest.

Alice Rylance-Watson
September 2013

See Wilton 1979, p.421 no.1021 reproduced.

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