Joseph Mallord William Turner

Mayen in the Eifel


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

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

Display caption

Turner passed Mayen while travelling by road between the Rhine and the Mosel. His gouache study is dominated by the vast black hulk of the Genovevaburg, a fortified castle built between 1280 and 1311. In the foreground it shows the medieval town walls, with the Brückentor at lower right, above which can be seen St Clement's church with its twisted spire. Late nineteenth-century photographs show Mayen very much as Turner did, but the visitor there today finds it sadly altered: most of the town was destroyed in the Second World War and it has subsequently been reconstructed and expanded almost beyond recognition.

Gallery label, August 2004

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