Joseph Mallord William Turner

The Godesburg, from the Rhine, Looking Downstream

1839

In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Graphite on paper
Dimensions
Support: 100 × 156 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D28618
Turner Bequest CCXCI 42

Catalogue entry

Beyond an array of river barges and sailing boats, the ‘donjon of Godesburg’ is seen in the distance here, crowning a conical mount.1 John Murray writes that the castle’s keep was constructed ‘by the warlike Archbishops of Cologne, in 1212, on the site of a Roman fort, and served them long as a stronghold, till the Bavarians took it and blew it up’ in the late sixteenth century.2 ‘The cylindrical Donjon tower, 100 ft. (30 metres) high, built 1340, commands a beautiful prospect over the Rhine’, and indeed makes for an impressive prospect when seen from a distance, as in this slight pencil sketch.3 See also Tate D28625; Turner Bequest CCXCI 45a, Tate D34369; Turner Bequest CCCXLIV 26, and an earlier drawing from 1817 in the Waterloo and Rhine sketchbook (Tate D12755; Turner Bequest CLX 29).

Alice Rylance-Watson
August 2013

1
John Murray, A Hand-book for Travellers on the Continent: Being a Guide Through Holland, Belgium, Prussia, and Northern Germany, and Along the Rhine, from Holland to Switzerland, London 1838, p.262.
2
Ibid.
3
Ibid.

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