Joseph Mallord William Turner

Prague: View across the Charles Bridge to the Old Town; The Petrin Hill and Hradcany (in Three Instalments)


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 100 × 159 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCCI 30

Catalogue entry

This is a sketch of Prague, capital of Bohemia, rendered in three parts to form one panoramic view. Turner stood on the Charles Bridge to produce this sketch, looking towards Petrín Hill (left) and the Hradcany (right) with the Old Town behind him. The first installment of the view is at centre, and shows the statues of saints which line each side of the Charles Bridge. Towards right is the Bridge Tower of the Lesser Quarter, a gothic towered gate which heralds the entrance to the Malá Strana. Behind it can be seen the spires of St Nicholas’ Church, and to the right of the Church in turn is part of Prague Castle, built atop the heights in the Hradcany district.
Turner has extended the right side of the central view depicting Hradcany above and below. The installment continued above shows more of Prague Castle, as well as St Vitus Cathedral. The Castle’s exterior wall and part of the base of the Cathedral is visible, as well as the twin towers of St George’s Church. At the rear of the page Turner has rendered more of the Hradcany.
‘Rap[...] [?bridge]’ is inscribed at right.
Other drawings of Prague can be found at Tate D30344–D30361, D30364–D30366; Turner Bequest CCCI 25–33a, 36–37. The Prague, Nuremberg, Frankfurt and Rhine sketchbook of the same tour holds drawings of the city at Tate D30759–30761, D30764–D30765, D30767, D30771–D30773, D30775–D30777, D30779–D30783, D30788–D30790, D30792–D30803, D30805, D30807–D30811, D30813–D30820; Turner Bequest CCCIV 68–69, 70a–71, 72, 74–75, 76–77, 78–80, 82a–84, 85–91, 92, 93–96, 97–102.

Alice Rylance-Watson
September 2015

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