Joseph Mallord William Turner

River Danube Views Copied from Prints: Wildenstein Castle; Sigmaringen Castle; Donaustauf, near Regensburg; Abbach


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 198 × 127 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCXCIX 10

Catalogue entry

Turner used this page vertically, turning it both ways up for four subjects. As discussed in the Introduction, Cecilia Powell has noted that fifteen of the views in this sketchbook (this page, folios 11 recto, 12 verso–13 verso; D30020, D30022, D30025–D30027) are thumbnail sketches from existing prints, mostly lithographs by Jakob Alt (1789–1872), likely seen in Turner’s Vienna hotel,1 from Adolf Kunike and Alt’s Donau-Ausichten vom Ursprunge bis zum Ausflusse in Meer (‘Danube views from its source to the sea’), issued between 1819 and the mid 1820s.2
At the top is Wildenstein Castle (Alt, plate 5),3 above the Danube at Leibertingen in the Swabian Alps of south-western Germany, not far north of the western end of Lake Constance (the Bodensee), well to the west of his outward route on the present tour. Next, Sigmaringen Castle (Alt, plate 6)4 is at the town of the same name, overlooking the river roughly ten miles east of Leibertingen. The other way up at the bottom, Bad Abbach (Alt, plate 34)5 is on the Danube a few miles upstream south-west of Regensburg (see the contemporary Venice; Passau to Würzburg sketchbook, under Tate D31311; Turner Bequest CCCX 18a), the point where he left the course of the river on his journey north-westwards; hence it was just off his route.
The third subject down the page, also inverted, is more significant: Donaustauf (Alt, plate 39),6 just east of Regensburg, seen across the valley from the south (see the Venice; Passau to Würzburg book, under Tate D31341; Turner Bequest CCCX 33a). As Powell has observed, Turner would have noticed that ‘some of the picturesque sights along the river had changed considerably’ since Alt made his views, and ‘when, in 1840, he reached the tiny village of Donaustauf near Regensburg he found Alt’s pastoral prospect transformed by the building of the Walhalla’;7 compare Turner’s direct Venice; Passau to Würzburg sketches, including Tate D31350, D31358, D31360; Turner Bequest CCCX 38, 42, 43).8

Matthew Imms
September 2018

See Powell 1995, pp.66–7, 81 note 27.
See ibid., pp.13, 67, 143, 240.
See ibid., pp.67, 81 note 28, 143, 242.
Ibid., pp.67–8; see also p.143.
As given in ibid., p.81 note 29.

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