Joseph Mallord William Turner

The Bock and the Rham, Luxembourg, above the Alzette Valley


Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Gouache, pen and ink and watercolour on paper
Support: 142 × 191 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCXXI M

Display caption

Among the many vividly coloured views of European scenery made by Turner in the later 1830s is a group depicting Luxembourg, dating from c.1839. He was evidently fascinated by the dramatic scenery of the city, with its series of massive fortified rocks creating powerful silhouettes and dizzying perspectives. Pencil drawings in his sketchbooks were elaborated in numerous coloured variants. Here the foreground fortifications, with a fanciful army of spearmen, are those of the Rham; the Rocher du Bock fills the centre of the composition; beyond, to right, is the Grünewald.

Gallery label, September 2004

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