Joseph Mallord William Turner

The Ground Plan of the Interior of the Walhalla, at Donaustauf near Regensburg; Two Women at Hals


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 198 × 126 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856

Catalogue entry

As Cecilia Powell recognised,1 the main elements here are rather fragmentary plans of the Greek temple-style Doric Walhalla monument, then nearing completion at Donaustauf, near Regensburg. Its elaborately decorated but essentially barn-like interior is notionally divided into thirds by the projecting supports for the main roof trusses, with a smaller columned space at the north end at the far end from the open entrance portico, as set out on the inner half of the page. The plan was probably drawn on the spot when Turner gained access to the cavernous interior, as shown by a quick chalk and pencil drawing on a separate sheet of grey paper (Tate D34084; Turner Bequest CCCXLI 363), and a slight study inside the front cover here (D41400). For numerous contemporary studies and views of the Walhalla and nearby Donaustauf in this sketchbook and elsewhere, see under folio 33 verso (D31341).2
Inverted relative to the sketchbook’s foliation, at the top left is a study of two women in traditional German costume carrying baskets or bundles. Like one of the similar studies on folio 70 verso opposite (D31415), it is labelled ‘Haltz’, indicating Hals, near Passau. The village and its dramatically sited castle ruins are shown on numerous adjacent pages, as noted under folio 58 verso (D31391); folio 59 recto (D31392) is also inscribed in a similar way. See also the figures on folios 67 verso, 69 recto, 70 recto and the inside of the front cover (D31409, D31412, D31414, D41400).
The customary Turner Bequest executors’ endorsement is written rather insensitively straight over the Walhalla plan. Its main element, signed by Charles Turner, is in ink: ‘No 336 [last digit amended from ‘7’] | Contains 70 leaves | Pencil Sketches all on both sides | C Turner’; below in pencil, the initials ‘C.L.E.’ and ‘Inv. 336 JPK’, are those of Charles Lock Eastlake and John Prescott Knight.
See Powell 1995, p.244.
See also Powell 1995, pp.70, 82 note 53.
Technical notes:
Roughly circular losses at the top and bottom edges likely mark the former anchoring points for ribbons to be wrapped around to the front cover and tied to close the book.

Matthew Imms
September 2018

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