During her wider research on Dutch subjects in the Turner Bequest for the present catalogue, research intern Quirine van der Meer Mohr expanded on Finberg’s basic identification of the present subject as ‘Rotterdam’;1 with the page turned horizontally, ‘the Leuvehaven seen from the Leuvebrug’ is shown, with the churches of St Lawrence and St Dominicus.2 The bridge no longer stands, and the immediate harbour area has changed radically since the Second World War. The domed church of St Dominicus to the north was destroyed and the present Citykerk Het Steiger Sint Dominicus is on a different site nearby; the tower and substantial church of St Lawrence (the Sint Laurensenkerk) survives. Folio 2 recto opposite (D32265) shows a similar view in much more detail. Turner had recorded both churches in his 1835 Rotterdam sketchbook (Tate D32444, D32446; Turner Bequest CCCXXI 1, 2).
This sketchbook was produced for a Rotterdam firm (see folio 92 verso; D41028), but Turner did not linger to make much use of it in the city upon arrival on the Continent. His next identified use of the book was at Heidelberg, roughly 250 miles to the south-east (see folio 3 recto; D32267), having sketched in pencil and watercolour on separate sheets through Germany, on a detour along the River Mosel and then up the Rhine; see the Introduction to the tour and the subsection of drawings made on the outward route towards Venice.3
Turner had already explored Rotterdam thoroughly, in the 1817 Dort sketchbook (Tate D13012–D13013, D13019–D13023, D13026, D13028–D13031, D13139–D13141; Turner Bequest CLXII 9, 9a, 13–15, 16a, 17a–19, 75, 76, 76a), the 1825 Holland sketchbook (Tate D18907–D18916, D18921–D18922, D18926, D18928–D18932, D18950–D18951, D18954–D18957, D18961–D18964, D18971–D18974, D18976, D18978, D18981–D18997; Turner Bequest CCXIV 34a–39, 41a–42a, 44, 45a–47a, 56a–57, 58a–60, 62–63a, 67–68a, 69a, 70a, 72–80) and the Holland, Meuse and Cologne sketchbook of the same year (Tate D19483–D19485, D19487–D19488; Turner Bequest CCXV 52a–53a, 54a–55).