Joseph Mallord William Turner

The Leyen Burg at Gondorf

c.1839

Not on display

Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Gouache and watercolour on paper
Dimensions
Support: 138 × 188 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D24588
Turner Bequest CCLIX 23

Display caption

The Leyen Burg is the only Mosel castle that is situated immediately on the river bank and it presented a highly picturesque sight to river travellers before it was brutally bisected by the Trier to Coblenz railway in 1876. No.77 records the very strong impact it made on Turner as it first came into view. The colouring here is far closer to that of no.96 depicting Dinant on the Meuse than that of neighbouring Kobern (no.78), showing that Turner worked on these scenes in several different batches irrespective of their subject matter.

Gallery label, August 2004

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Catalogue entry

In this gouache Turner pictures Gondorf and the Castle of Leyen, located on the banks of the tranquil Moselle. Until the early nineteenth century the castle was home to the Counts of Leyen, described, rather fawningly, by Bartholomew Stritch as ‘one of the noblest and most ancient races of the Moselle’.1 By Turner’s visit in 1839 the family had sold their ancestral ‘Knightly cradle’, and, by 1876, the castle itself was quite literally bisected by Prussian engineers whilst they created the Trier to Koblenz railway.2
Turner sketched both Gondorf and the Leyen Burg in 1824 (Tate D19811, D20387, D20396; Turner Bequest CCXVI 130a, CCXXIV 91, 100) and in two of the sketchbooks belonging to the 1839 tour (Tate D28305, D28583–D28588; Turner Bequest CCLXXXIX 8, CCXCI 24a–27). This gouache is based on CCXCI 24a, one of a series of quick sketches jotted down as the artist saw Gondorf coming into view from the river.
Similar handling, colour and rendering of light, shade and reflection is found in Turner’s gouache of Klotten and the Burg Coraidelstein (Tate D20237; Turner Bequest CCXXI D). Turner produced a further view of the Leyen Burg in around 1844, which is housed at the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford.3
1
Bartholomew Stritch, The Meuse, the Moselle, and the Rhine; or, A Six Weeks’ Tour Through the Finest River Scenery in Europe, by B.S., London 1845, p.64.
2
Stritch 1845, p.65 and Powell 1991, p.148 no.77.
3
Andrew Wilton, J.M.W. Turner: His Life and Work, Fribourg 1979, p.460 no.1330.
Verso:
Inscribed in pencil ‘23–1203’ at top left.

Alice Rylance-Watson
September 2013

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