Joseph Mallord William Turner

Regensburg from the Dreifaltigkeitskirche, above the Confluence of the Rivers Regen and Danube


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Chalk and graphite on paper
Support: 193 × 284 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCCXLI 360

Catalogue entry

This view was identified by Cecilia Powell as showing ‘the church of the Dreifaltigkeit [Holy Trinity] with the cemetery arch on the left’,1 on the slopes of the Dreifaltigkeitsberg overlooking Regensburg in southern Germany. In the distance to the south are the medieval towers of the city, including the shaded bulk of the cathedral (before the addition of its slender spires). The west end of the Dreifaltigkeitkirche is shown towards the left, aligned with its single spire; the church was later significantly extended in this direction with a larger nave flanked by two similar spires, but trees around it now preclude a clear view. The River Regen flows south in the middle distance to the confluence with the Danube, which continues its course eastwards towards the horizon.
Turner made numerous pencil drawings around Regensburg in the contemporary Venice, Passau to Würzburg book; see under Tate D31311 (Turner Bequest CCCX 18a). Of these, D31352 (CCCX 39) is a loose sketch of the scene from immediately outside the church.
As discussed in the technical notes below, the present study is one of seven of Regensburg and the nearby Walhalla at Donaustauf (see also Tate D32185, D34084–D34085, D34093, D36150, D36153; Turner Bequest CCCXVII 6, CCCXLI 363, 364, 371, CCCLXIV 293, 296) which were initially eighths of a single sheet; D36151 (CCCLXIV 294) is a related view on similar paper. D36153 is a view from the cemetery, developing the view over the valley in more detail with watercolour and gouache beneath a glowing sunrise sky. The inconspicuous touch of white above the spire in the present sheet may show that Turner thought of treating the present variant in a similar way.
Powell 1995, p.167.
Technical notes:
Among many such works on the blue or grey papers customarily used by Turner, this is one of seven originally from a single piece (subsequently scattered through Finberg’s 1909 Inventory, as listed above) to be identified by Cecilia Powell as showing subjects in and around Regensburg.1 They are from an 1829 sheet of the grey Bally, Ellen and Steart paper often used in 1840 (see the Introduction to the overall tour), and were temporarily reassembled for paper conservator Peter Bower’s 1999 Turner’s Later Papers exhibition, showing that their slightly irregular edges match exactly.2
See Powell 1995, pp.167–8.
See Bower 1999, pp.105, 107 no.59, with one side of the overall arrangement reproduced in colour p.69, the other in black and white p.106.
Ibid., pp.105, 107.

Matthew Imms
September 2018

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