Joseph Mallord William Turner

Prague: View up the Vltava to the Old Town Bridge Tower, Charles Bridge, Petrín 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: 118 × 190 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCCIV 69

Catalogue entry

This view of Prague is rendered in three instalments to produce one wide-angled prospect. The view starts at the central instalment, showing Charles Bridge and the gothic Bridge Tower that is the entrance to Prague’s Old Town. Turner’s view continues with the rear section, depicting the foot of Charles Bridge and the buildings of the Little Quarter which slope up towards Hradcany and Prague Castle. To the left of the Hradcany is Petrín Hill; Turner has suggested its crenelated ‘Hunger Wall’, a medieval defensive wall built to fortify the imperial Castle, with a jagged line. The top section is a continuation of the Prague Castle complex in the Hradcany district.
‘9’ has been inscribed at bottom left for the number of arches on Charles Bridge; an illegible inscription can also be seen at centre left.
Turner produced several sketches of Prague on the 1835 tour; For other drawings in this sketchbook see 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. See also the Dresden, Tepliz and Prague sketchbook (Tate D30344–D30361, D30364–D30366; Turner Bequest CCCI 25–33a, 36–37).

Alice Rylance-Watson
December 2015

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