Joseph Mallord William Turner

Luxembourg from the Bourbon Plateau


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Gouache, pen and ink and watercolour on paper
Support: 141 × 188 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCXXII E

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In Turner's day Luxembourg was noted as the strongest fortress town in Europe and regarded as virtually impregnable. Built on several different vast cliffs above the confluence of the Alzette and the Pétrusse, it consisted of numerous sets of fortifications, most notably the Citadel of St-Esprit (no.121), the Bock (nos.124, 125) and the Rham (no.123). The first two of these are linked by the eighteenth-century Pont du Château visible in nos.122 and 124. The monumental grandeur of Luxembourg inspired Turner to paint more gouache studies than any other sight on his 1839 tour; the recent discovery of no.122 brings the known total up to twenty.

Gallery label, August 2004

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