Joseph Mallord William Turner

Schloss Rosenau, near Coburg, and its Garden Terrace, with Details of a Fountain and Façades of the House; the Entrance to Veste Coburg; ?Poppendorf, between Coburg and Bamberg

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 × 126 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D31400
Turner Bequest CCCX 63

Catalogue entry

There are various different sketches here, largely made with the page turned vertically. At the top, as Finberg surmised and Cecilia Powell confirmed,1 is a study of the elevated garden terrace running north from Schloss Rosenau, in the Itz Valley about four miles north-east of Coburg, with its balustrade, urns and fountain (shown in more detail above) leading to a small tower overlooking the wooded prospect. The sketch is continued to the left on folio 62 verso opposite (D31399) with the north front of the house itself, and would have informed the large oil painting of Schloss Rosenau, Seat of H.R.H. Prince Albert of Coburg, near Coburg, Germany exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1841 (Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool);2 for the few views of the castle in this sketchbook and a related watercolour study, see under folio 22 recto (D31318),3 the main source of the painting’s composition.
Towards the top right of the present page is a thumbnail sketch of the north front’s gable, shown in relation to the turret at the centre of the west front. At right-angles above is a partial study of the south front, similar to the north but distinguished by more extensive fenestration and other details, which ended up being incorporated into the garden front in the painting. Cecilia Powell has suggested that the artist ‘did this deliberately in order to raise the status of the Schloss, rather than in error. Such conflations of material are a common feature of Turner’s art.’4
Across the middle of the page, inverted relative to the sketchbook’s foliation, is a view up to the south front of the Veste Coburg fortress on its hilltop east of Coburg. It is closely related to a contemporary pencil and watercolour study on grey paper (Tate D32190; Turner Bequest CCCXVII 11), which Powell has described as giving ‘a good impression of the very steep ascent ... and the vast size of its walls and bastions. The ‘Bunter Löwe’ bastion, surmounted by a turret and adorned with a huge stone cartouche depicting a lion flanked by griffons, dominates the whole of the right-hand side of the scene; a heavily laden wagon slowly crawls up the steep path on the left’.5 The latter incident is not hinted at here, and the watercolour gives more prominence to the plain arch spanning the road on the left than to the heavily articulated Baroque portal reached by a short bridge over the ravine at the centre. For the numerous Coburg views in this sketchbook, see under folio 1 verso (D31278).6

Matthew Imms
September 2018

1
See Finberg 1909, II, p.999, and Powell 1995, p.244.
2
Butlin and Joll 1984, pp.241–2 no.392, pl.396 (colour); see also disputed version (Yale Center for British Art, New Haven), p.279 no.442, pl.397.
3
See also Powell 1995, pp.72, 82 note 65.
4
Ibid., pp.177–8.
5
Ibid., p.172.
6
See also ibid., pp.72, 82 notes 63 and 64.
7
See Finberg 1909, II, p.999, and Powell 1995, p.244.

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