Joseph Mallord William Turner

Spitalgasse, Coburg, with the Lucchesehaus and Stadthaus, from the Weisser Schwan Hotel; the Market Place with St Moriz’s Church and the Rathaus; the Stadthaus and Zeughaus

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
D31278
Turner Bequest CCCX 1 a

Catalogue entry

Finberg speculated that the detailed views here, inverted relative to each other at the top and bottom of the page, represented Coburg;1 Cecilia Powell has confirmed this and identified the settings and buildings in detail.2
The upper drawing shows ‘the view from an upper window of Turner’s hotel in Coburg, the Weisser Schwan in Spitalgasse which runs north from the market place’, with ‘the very ornate Lucchesehause with a curved pedimental roofline and giant figures supporting its entrance porch’ at the far left, and the ‘spire of St Moriz’s church which Turner could have seen only from an upstairs window in the hotel’.3 To the south-south-east towards the right is the profile of the elaborate late-Renaissance oriel turret at the corner of the Stadthaus on the near side of the market square, with a detail on a larger scale above to the right. As Powell has discussed, this view relates to a loose contemporary colour study on grey paper (Tate D32186; Turner Bequest CCCXVII 7), with a coach and various figures in the foreground.4
Below, the other way up, the main view is from the south end of Spitalgasse, with the same western corner of the Stadthaus in the foreground on the left and roofline details annotated above. Facing the south side of the square on the right, the prominent Baroque Rathaus features its own oriel corner to the left of its central portico, and three bands of ‘4’ windows noted rather than drawn to the right, below which the square’s fountain is both drawn and noted. The spire of St Moriz is seen more clearly to the south-east.
The slighter study running across the middle of the page below the second view is from the west side of the square, showing the gabled south front of the Stadthaus on the left with the Zeughaus beyond on an exaggerated scale, with only slight indications of the steeply pitched roofs of the less notable buildings on the east side to the right. Turner’s two market place views relate to another grey paper colour study (Tate D32187; Turner Bequest CCCXVII 8).5 A statue of Queen Victoria’s husband, Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha (1819–1861) now dominates the scene, as shown in Heinrich Justus Schneider’s painting of The Unveiling of the Prince Consort’s Statue in the Marketplace at Coburg, 16 August 1865 (1865–66; Royal Collection).

Matthew Imms
September 2018

1
See Finberg 1909, II, p.997.
2
See Powell 1995, p.242.
3
Ibid., p.169.
4
Ibid.
5
See ibid., pp.169–70.
6
See ibid., p.173.
7
See also ibid., pp.71–2, 82 notes 63 and 64, 169–174.

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