Joseph Mallord William Turner

The Confluence of the Meuse and the Sambre at Namur, Looking Upstream

1824

In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Graphite on paper
Dimensions
Support: 99 × 162 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D20105
Turner Bequest CCXVII 13

Catalogue entry

This panoramic view of Namur is continued on the folio opposite (Tate D20104; Turner Bequest CCXVII 12a). At left is Namur’s mighty citadel, dominating the city from atop a high promontory. A stronghold has commanded this site for centuries, defending the Meuse valley from invasion since the Roman occupation.1 Turner sketches the contours of the citadel’s towers and curtain walls again in light pencil directly above the principal view.
Buildings line the riverbank at the foot of the citadel; the most notable of these is the old Hospice Saint-Giles, now used as the headquarters of the Walloon Parliament. To the right a pedimented aedicule comes into view: this is the Porte de Sambre et Meuse, an eighteenth-century arched gateway decorated with allegorical figures representing the two rivers in celebration of their union at Namur. There appears to be a detail of the Porte and the sixteenth-century Halle al’Chair (now Namur’s Archaeological Museum) at top right. Further to the right, identifiable by its two distinct spires, is the Hospice d’Harscamp (see also Tate D20108, D29631; Turner Bequest CCXVII 15, CCXCVI 18). The d’Harscamps were a Belgian aristocratic family whose wealth was accrued during the Thirty Years War.2 They endowed a number of local charitable institutions in Namur, including this, a place of hospitality and care for the sick, wounded, or dying.3

Alice Rylance-Watson
January 2014

1
‘Namur: the citadel’, Trabel, accessed 22 January 2014, http://www.trabel.com/namur/namen-citadel.htm
2
‘La Famille d’Harscamp’, Harscamp, accessed 22 January 2014, http://www.harscamp.be/index.php/Historique-de-la-Fondation-d-Harscamp/La-famille-d-Harscamp
3
‘De l’Hospice à la Maison d’Harscamp’, Harscamp, accessed 22 January 2014, http://www.harscamp.be/index.php/Presentation/de-l-hospice-a-la-maison-d-harscamp.html

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