Joseph Mallord William Turner

Metz Cathedral and Fortifications; Metz Cathedral and Bridges over the Moselle


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 101 × 168 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCLXXXVIII 26 a

Catalogue entry

The principal drawing is a view of Metz Cathedral (Saint-Étienne) taken from outside a fortified wall: part of a network of bulwarks and towered city gates dating back to the thirteenth century. Turner reinforces the sense of aerial perspective here by employing a blunter pencil to render the fortifications in the foreground and using slight, tentative handling to sketch the city and cathedral in the distance.
Below, at bottom left, is a further drawing of Metz Cathedral, outlined in profile and shaded with hatching. Two bridges leading into the city centre are at left and right.
For other representations of Metz in this sketchbook see Tate D28200, D28216, D28217, D28219, D28221, D28222, D28232–D28235; Turner Bequest CCLXXXVIII 17a, 25a, 26, 27, 28, 28a, 34–36. There is also a gouache and watercolour drawing of the city produced on blue paper in 1839 (Tate D24757; Turner Bequest CCLIX 192). For earlier depictions of Metz see the Rivers Meuse and Moselle sketchbook of 1824 (Tate D19706, D19709, D19786; Turner Bequest CCXVI 79, 80a, 118).

Alice Rylance-Watson
May 2013

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