Here Turner records the Drachenfels (‘Dragon’s Rock’) in the Siebengebirge (‘Seven Hills’), Germany. The Drachenfels gained popularity in the romantic era, especially when it appeared in Canto IV of Lord Byron’s narrative poem Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage (1812–18). Turner visited this part of the Rhine on many occasions throughout his career, depicting the Drachenfels in sketchbooks of 1817, 1824, 1833, 1835, 1839 and 1840. Between 1823 and 1824 the artist produced a finished watercolour of the Drachenfels for Finden’s edition of Lord Byron’s Works published in 1825 and released again in 1833 as part of Finden’s Landscape Illustrations...of Lord Byron.1
For more sketches of the Drachenfels see Tate D12663, D12680, D12756, D12757, D12760–D12763, D12768–D12775, D12860, D12862–D12864, D12866–D12867, D12885, D12887, D19840, D28615–D28617, D28621–D28623, D28625–D28626, D28632, D29663, D29681, D29684–D29685, D29715, D30500–D30510, D30513, D30642–D30643, D30682, D30769, D30791, D34367, D34374; Turner Bequest CLIX 83a, 92, CLX 29a–30, 31a–33, 35a–39, 81a, 82a–83a, 84a, 85, CLXI 2, 3, CCXVI 145, CCXCI 40a–41a, 43a–44a, 45a–46, CCXCVI 18, 34, 44, 45a–46, 61a, CCCIII 22–27, 28a, CCCIV 6a–7, 28, 73, 84a, CCCXLIV 24, 31. See also Tate impression T06180, and other finished watercolours at the Courtauld Gallery, London, and Stanford University, California.2
The watercolour is in the collection of Manchester City Gallery, Manchester; see Andrew Wilton, J.M.W. Turner: His Life and Work, Fribourg 1979, p.445 no.1216.
Wilton 1979, p.377 no.666 and p.378 no.675; there is also a watercolour depicting Rolandswerth Nunnery and Drachenfels in a private collection (see Wilton 1979, p.377 no.666).