Joseph Mallord William Turner

The Drachenfels, with Burg Drachenfels above Königswinter on the River Rhine

1840

In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Graphite on paper
Dimensions
Support: 147 x 193 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D33901
Turner Bequest CCCXLI 196

Catalogue entry

Looking up the River Rhine, the Drachenfels hill is shown to the south-east, surmounted by the ruins of Burg Drachenfels above Königswinter, with the dome of St Remigius’s Church in the foreground. The subject was among those listed in broad terms by Cecilia Powell, as quoted in the technical notes below, in relation to a group of thirteen similar drawings mostly made along rural stretches of the river.
Turner’s inscription, which Finberg tentatively rendered as ‘Uslong’,1 remains obscure. Compare a similar note near the Drachenfels on a sheet of studies made on the same occasion (Tate D33911; Turner Bequest CCCXLI 206). The hill and ruins are also seen in D33902, D33907 and D33912 (CCCXLI 197, 202, 207) in the same sequence, D33902 being a similar but less detailed view, apparently from a little further off. See also D33907 and D33911 (CCCXLI 202, 206). Numerous other drawings and watercolours from 1817 onwards are noted under Tate D30500 (Turner Bequest CCCIII 22) in the Würzburg, Rhine and Ostend sketchbook, used on the Rhine as the artist neared the end of the 1840 tour.
For the likely sequence of the Rhine subjects in this grouping and the wider context of the tour, see the Introduction to this subsection. The other side of the sheet, D33913 (Turner Bequest CCCXLI 208), shows Burg Hammerstein, about fifteen miles upriver.
1
Finberg 1909, II, p.1073.
Technical notes:
In discussing one of the 1840 River Mosel subjects in this subsection (Tate D28998; Turner Bequest CCXCII 50), Cecilia Powell has noted that it ‘originally formed part of the same sheet as eight others of the same size which bear pencil drawings of the Rhine on both recto and verso. These include views of Bonn, the Godesburg, Rolandseck, the Drachenfels, Hammerstein and Burg Rheineck (TB CCCXLI 194–209 [Tate D33899–D33914, of which D33903, D33904 and D33906 are blank]). The sheet is watermarked BE&S / 1829.’1 Apparently indicating that they were still joined in 1909, Finberg noted the ‘following numbers, 194–209, form [sic] part of one large sheet folded into small sections.’2

Matthew Imms
September 2018

1
Powell 1995, pp.150–1; see also Karl Heinz Stader, William Turner und der Rhein, Bonn 1981, p.43.
2
Finberg 1909, II, p.1073.
3
See also Powell 1995, p.145.

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