Joseph Mallord William Turner

The Island of Oberwerth, with its Ruined Abbey, South of Koblenz; Koblenz and Ehrenbreitstein in the Distance, Looking Downstream from the East


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 78 × 118 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCXVI 138 a

Catalogue entry

The principal sketch, which occupies the majority of the page and which has been left largely undeveloped by Turner, depicts Koblenz from an easterly perspective. The twin spires of the Florinskirche and those of St Castor Basilica behind it can be seen at left, while the Ehrenbreitstein fortress is suggested in light silhouette in the background. A further small and slight sketch of Koblenz taken from a distance is located above the principal drawing.
Parallel to the gutter of the sketchbook, at top right, is a squared-off view of Oberwerth, a district of Koblenz situated on the western bank of the Rhine which was once separated from the mainland. A Benedictine monastery, pictured by Turner here in ruins, had occupied the ‘island’ of Oberwerth since the twelfth century.1 It was besieged by French Revolutionary troops in the 1790s and was later dissolved as a result of Napoleonic secularisation.2

Alice Rylance-Watson
June 2014

‘Zur Geschichte von Koblenz-Oberwerth’, Regionalgeschichte (Oberwerth am Mittelrhine), accessed 13 June 2014,

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