Joseph Mallord William Turner

Rolandseck, Nonnenwerth and the Drachenfels, Looking down the River Rhine


Not on display

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 104 × 170 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCCIII 24 a

Catalogue entry

The two views here were made with the page turned horizontally, and effectively form a panorama. As identified by Cecilia Powell,1 the main view shows the ruins of Burg Rolandseck, featuring the Rolandsbogen arch, high on the west bank of the Rhine on the left, above the former nunnery on Nonnenwerth island; there is a suggestion on the right of the Drachenfels hill further off on the opposite bank, looking north down the river. At the top right is another view of the latter, from about the same point or a little further north.
Powell has noted that Turner neared the end of this tour following ‘the familiar route of the Rhine between Mainz and Cologne. He almost certainly travelled by steamer, ... sketching most of the well-known sights perfunctorily as he passed.’2 Given that this sketchbook was used in reverse of its subsequent foliation, she has specified the overall range of this phase as ‘TB CCCIII 68v–20v; 11r’,3 indicating folios 12 recto and 21 verso–69 verso (D30479, D30497–D30592; Turner Bequest CCCIII 20a–68a); see this book’s Introduction for the full itinerary of this part of the journey.
Nonnenwerth is also shown on folios 26 recto–28 recto and 29 verso (D30506–D30510, D30513; CCCIII 25–27, 28a). For other views, see the 1817 Itinerary Rhine Tour, Waterloo and Rhine and Rhine sketchbooks (respectively Tate D12572; Turner Bequest CLIX 30a; D12774–D12775, D12860, D12862–D12863; CLX 38a, 39, 81a, 82a, 83; D12887; CLXI 3), the 1833 Brussels up to Mannheim – Rhine sketchbook (D29632, D29663, D29715; CCXCVI 18a, 34, 61a), the Rotterdam and Rhine sketchbook of around that date (D32573–D32574; CCCXXII 17a, 18), the 1835 Prague, Nuremberg, Frankfurt and Rhine sketchbook (D30769; CCCIV 73), and the 1839 Cochem to Coblenz – Home sketchbook (D28617, D28621–D28623; CCXCI 41a, 43a–44a).
For other Rolandseck and Drachenfels views in this sketchbook and elsewhere, see under folio 23 recto (D30500; CCCIII 22). See also Tate D33907 and D33911 (Turner Bequest CCCXLI 202, 206), sheets of multiple views of Burg Rolandseck, Nonnenwerth and the Drachenfels, among the Rhine studies on grey paper likely drawn as Turner passed upriver on the outward leg of the present tour.
Powell 1995, p.246.
Ibid., p.72.
Ibid., p.82 note 70.

Matthew Imms
September 2018

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