Joseph Mallord William Turner

Schloss Rosenau, near Coburg, from the Itz Valley


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 126 × 198 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCCX 22

Catalogue entry

As has long been recognised, this horizontal view shows Schloss Rosenau, in countryside beside the River Itz about four miles north-east of Coburg (see under folio 1 verso; D31278),1 and relates closely to the painting 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
Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha (1819–1861), had been born at the castle, a relatively modest ducal seat in hunting lodge style; he had married his cousin Queen Victoria in London on 10 February 1840, a few months before Turner’s tour, doubtless explaining the artist’s interest in the picturesque but otherwise largely unremarkable scene as a potential subject, not least with long-sought royal patronage in mind. The viewpoint is beside the gently meandering river, looking downstream to the south and up over the trees to the gabled castle, with its modest formal gardens set on a high terrace running north-west to a small free-standing tower.
There are sketches of other aspects and various details inside the front cover, and on folios 8 recto, 21 verso opposite, 23 verso, 24 recto, 62 verso, 63 recto and 64 recto (D41400, D31291, D31317, D31321–D31322, D31399–D31400, D31402).3 Compare also a loosely painted watercolour (Tate D35889; Turner Bequest CCCLXIV 49) which appears to represent an intermediate ‘colour beginning’-type stage towards the oil composition; while common in the development of Turner’s mature finished watercolours from his direct pencil studies (see for example those gathered in the ‘England and Wales Colour Studies c.1825–39’ section of this catalogue), such direct equivalents are rare survivors in relation to paintings.4
See also Powell 1995, pp.72, 82 notes 63 and 64.
Butlin and Joll 1984, pp.241–2 no.392, pl.396 (colour); for a disputed close variant/copy (Yale Center for British Art, New Haven), see p.279 no.442, pl.397; the connection with this page is noted ibid., p.242; see also Finberg 1909, II, p.997, George 1971, p.86, Milner 1990, p.63, Powell 1995, pp.176–7, Pia Müller-Tamm 1995, pp.121, 122, 124, and Moorby 2014, p.85.
See also Powell 1995, pp.72, 82 note 65.
See ibid., p.172.
Technical notes:
Cecilia Powell has characterised this leaf as ‘disfigured by two large dog-ears’ where the outer corners were formerly folded diagonally for ease of reference, suggesting that they were made ‘so as to be able to flick it to and fro while consulting [this page] and [folio 23 recto; D31320] at the same time’ when working on the watercolour study of the present subject and a technically similar one of Coburg (Tate D35948; Turner Bequest CCCLXIV 105).1

Matthew Imms
September 2018

Ibid., p.173.

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