Joseph Mallord William Turner

Regensburg Cathedral across the River Danube, with the Steinerne Brücke

1840

In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Graphite on paper
Dimensions
Support: 126 × 198 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D31359
Turner Bequest CCCX 42 a

Catalogue entry

The drawing was made with the page turned horizontally. As recognised by Cecilia Powell,1 it shows the towers and spires of Regensburg across the River Danube, looking south-west to the cathedral (then lacking the upper stages and taller spires of its west towers), with the twin spires of the Niedermünster church to its east to its left; the long Steinerne Brücke is downstream towards the right, and reprised or continued in more detail at the top right. There are related views on folios 43 verso and 45 verso (D31361, D31365); see also folio 44 verso (D31363), taken from east of the bridge.
Ian Warrell has established that this page in particular informed a light-filled watercolour of the scene,2 with the sun sinking over the river at its centre, which had traditionally been known as ‘Lyons’ and dated to about 1846 (Victoria and Albert Museum, London).3 Warrell called it ‘Regensburg from the Danube, with the Cathedral and Stone Bridge, at Sunset’, placing it to about 1840, in line with the sketches.4 He described the scene as looking ‘back over the towers of the city from the Unterer Wöhrt, one of the islands that divide the Danube at the confluence with the Regen’, which is ‘connected to the city by the insubstantial bridge in the foreground; the vulnerability of its wooden piers is very palpably suggested.’5 The wooden bridge was based on the slight forms in the foreground here, which also seem to suggest moored boats.
The watercolour as one of a small group of Regensburg subjects developed from the pencil sketches in the present book, as discussed in its Introduction. For numerous contemporary views of the city in this sketchbook and elsewhere, see under folio 18 verso (D31311).6

Matthew Imms
September 2018

1
See Powell 1995, p.243.
2
See Warrell 2015, pp.6, 8 note 15.
3
As given (albeit with discussion of other possibilities) in Andrew Wilton, J.M.W. Turner: His Life and Work, Fribourg 1979, p.487 no.1555, pl.256
4
Warrell 2015, p.6 (caption to fig.5); compare ‘View of the Danube and Regensburg cathedral at sunset’, V&A: Search the Collections, accessed 25 August 2018, http://collections.vam.ac.uk/item/O687292/view-of-the-danube-and-watercolour-turner-joseph-mallord/.
5
Warrell 2015, p.6.
6
See also Powell 1995, pp.69, 81 note 45.

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