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 56 a

Catalogue entry

As Cecilia Powell recognised,1 this drawing, made with the page turned horizontally, shows the view south-west over Passau from the slopes of the Ilzstadt district, apparently with loose indications of the spire of St Bartholomäus’s Church towards the bottom right, beyond which 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 in the middle distance, with features including the twin towers of St Michael’s Church, the dome and towers of the cathedral, and the tower of St Paul’s Church. 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 55 recto and verso (D31383–D31385). Slight architectural forms in the sky above the cathedral may show another aspect of St Bartholomäus’s spire.
Compare also a contemporary watercolour on grey paper (Tate D28993; Turner Bequest CCXCII 46). For numerous contemporary views of Passau in this sketchbook and elsewhere, see under folio 48 verso (D31371). Niamh Mac Nally gave the present page as an example of the ‘accurate topographical information’ in such studies2 which informed an atmospheric watercolour of Passau, Germany, at the Confluence of the Rivers Inn and Danube 1840 (National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin).3

Matthew Imms
September 2018

See Powell 1995, p.244.
See Mac Nally in Hodge and Mac Nally 2012, p.102.
Andrew Wilton, J.M.W. Turner: His Life and Work, Fribourg 1979, p.458 no.1317, reproduced.

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