Joseph Mallord William Turner

Passau from the Ilzstadt, with the Confluence of the Rivers Danube, Inn and Ilz


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 126 × 198 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCCX 55 a

Catalogue entry

As Cecilia Powell recognised,1 this drawing, made with the page turned horizontally, shows the prospect south-west over Passau from the open ground above St Bartholomäus’s Church on the Ilzstadt, with its spire prominent in the left foreground. At the lower centre is the mouth of the River Ilz below the towers of the Niederhaus, overlooking its confluence with the much larger Danube. The east end of the Altstadt peninsula is shown beyond the Niederhaus, with loose indications of the twin towers of St Michael’s Church, the dome and towers of the cathedral, and the tower of St Paul’s Church, beyond the lower ramparts of the Oberhaus towards the right. The twin spires of the Mariahilf church are on the skyline towards the top left, on the slopes beyond the River Inn, itself absorbed by the Danube at the confluence off the Altstadt. There are variations on folio 54 verso and the recto (D31383–D31384).
Compare a contemporary watercolour on grey paper (Tate D28993; Turner Bequest CCXCII 46), from a similar position but with the spire on the right and more of the Oberhaus shown. Along the gutter at the top, there is a slight continuation from the bottom of the Oberhaus view on folio 56 recto opposite (D31386), corresponding loosely with the right-hand side of the colour study.
For numerous contemporary views of Passau in this sketchbook and elsewhere, see under folio 48 verso (D31371).

Matthew Imms
September 2018

See Powell 1995, p.244.

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