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 25

Catalogue entry

The two related views here were made with the page turned horizontally. As suggested by Finberg1 and confirmed by Cecilia Powell,2 each they show the ruins of Burg Rolandseck, featuring the Rolandsbogen arch, high on the west bank of the Rhine on the left, the former nunnery on Nonnenwerth island, and the Drachenfels hill further off on the opposite bank, looking north down the river. The upper variant was evidently made in the course of passing the nunnery via the main channel, between Nonnenwerth and its eastern counterpart, Grafenwerth.
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.’3 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’,4 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.
For other Rolandseck and Drachenfels views in this sketchbook and elsewhere, see under folio 23 recto (D30500; CCCIII 22); and for Nonnenwerth, under folio 25 verso opposite (D30505; CCCIII 24a).

Matthew Imms
September 2018

See Finberg 1909, II, p.979.
Powell 1995, p.246.
Ibid., p.72.
Ibid., p.82 note 70.

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