Joseph Mallord William Turner

The Marienkapelle, Würzburg, from the Market Place, with Details


Not on display

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 104 × 170 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCCIII 80 a

Catalogue entry

As Cecilia Powell has noted,1 the main subject, drawn with the page turned horizontally, is the Gothic Marienkapelle on the north side of Würzburg’s Marktplatz, seen from the south-west. The elaborate Baroque spire recorded here, complete with a detail of its ‘Doric’ cupola, was later completely rebuilt with a slender Gothic Revival steeple. Turner’s interest seems to have waned, as there is no indication of the elaborate surround of the west door, with its deep tympanum, which would feature below the slender window at the near end.
Nor is there much architectural context; the wider market place, including a prominent obelisk fountain, is seen in the only view of the city in the contemporary Venice; Passau to Würzburg sketchbook (Tate D31376; Turner Bequest CCCX 51), the viewpoint of which was Turner’s hotel. For the extensive sequence of Würzburg views in this sketchbook and others elsewhere, see under folio 72 verso (D30596; CCCIII 71), where the other end of the church is shown.
The significance of the lightly drawn, apparently architectural, secondary sketch at the top right is unclear.

Matthew Imms
September 2018

See Powell 1995, p.245.

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