Joseph Mallord William Turner

The Hauptmarkt, Nuremberg, with the Schöner Brunnen Fountain, and St Sebaldus’s Church, the Town Hall and the Burg Beyond; the Giechburg and Gügel, near Schesslitz


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 126 × 198 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCCX 29

Catalogue entry

Made with the page turned horizontally, the main view is north to the Hauptmarkt square in Nuremberg, with the slim Gothic spire of the Schöner Brunnen fountain towards the right, as recognised by Cecilia Powell.1 Beyond is the apsidal Gothic east end of St Sebaldus’s Church, with the pinnacles of the Baroque old town hall opposite, and the profile of the Burg fortifications on the skyline; compare the more detailed drawings in the 1835 Prague, Nuremberg, Frankfurt and Rhine sketchbook (Tate D30730, D30732; Turner Bequest CCCIV 52a, 54).
Much of the city was destroyed in the Second World War, and the medieval buildings in the foreground, including the building with the stepped gable beyond the fountain, do not survive, while the church spires are now obscured from this direction. Turner made only a few drawings here this time (see also the verso, folios 30 recto–32 recto, and folio 45 recto; D31333–D31338, D31364) as compared with his extensive survey in the 1835 book (see Tate D30707–D30742; Turner Bequest CCCIV 40a–59).2
Separated by a pencil line to the right, at right angles and inverted relative to the sketchbook’s foliation), a rough ‘carriage sketch’ shows two hills, with ‘Giech’ scrawled above; Powell has identified the subject as ‘Giech and Gügel near Schesslitz’; the neighbouring hills south-east of the town were each originally surmounted by a castle. The ruined Giechburg has been partly restored, while a pilgrimage church is now the main feature of Burg Gügel. The scene lies between Bamberg and Coburg (see under folios 19 recto and 1 verso respectively; D31312, D31278).
For the subjects’ relation to Turner’s overall itinerary, see the sketchbook’s Introduction.

Matthew Imms
September 2018

See Powell 1995, p.243.
See also ibid., pp.70, 82 note 55.

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