Joseph Mallord William Turner

Schloss Rannariedl on the River Danube, Downstream and Upstream; Engelszell Abbey Upstream

1840

In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Graphite on paper
Dimensions
Support: 198 × 127 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D30040
Turner Bequest CCXCIX 20 a

Catalogue entry

There are three main sketches here, made with the page turned vertically both ways, show nearby subjects along the River Danube, as identified by Cecilia Powell.1 At the top is a view north-west to Engelszell Abbey, a Baroque Trappist monastery on the west bank, seen on the approach to Engelhartszell, one of the subjects on the recto (D30039).
The drawings inverted towards the bottom were made first, and show Schloss Rannariedl, near Schattenthal, roughly fifteen miles south-east of Passau and a couple of miles downstream of the abbey. The bottom view shows the prospect north-west towards Engelhartszell, with the castle outlined on the skyline, and shown from a similar angle in a supplementary detail. Below is a view in the opposite direction, once Turner had sailed past, again with a detail of the castle; the wooded hillside above the main view is likely a continuation to the right. Turner’s note ‘Rinnil Closter’ (for the German ‘Kloster’) would suggest another monastery; he possibly conflated the two main subjects, or was misinformed. See also folio 21 recto opposite (D30041).
Cecilia Powell has noted that as the Danube flows to Linz from Passau, it ‘pursues its course by means of several spectacular bends’, giving Turner the chance to study the ruined castles as he sailed up this stretch ‘looking quickly now upstream, now downstream’,2 as shown in various sketches interspersed with other subjects between folios 17 recto and 26 verso (D30034–D30052).3 Although his route upriver was straightforward, his somewhat haphazard use of this book to record it was not. For the geographical sequence of identified views between Vienna and Passau (see under folios 40 recto and 31 recto; D30076, D30058), see this sketchbook’s Introduction.
The page number ‘20a’ is inscribed at the corner appears to be in the neat, rounded hand of the Turner scholar C.F. Bell (1871–1966), who contributed to research on the Bequest.

Matthew Imms
September 2018

1
See Powell 1995, p.241.
2
Ibid., p.68.
3
See ibid., p.81 note 35.

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