Joseph Mallord William Turner

The Market Place, Würzburg, with the Marienkapelle and Haus zum Falken, from Schönbornstrasse


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 71

Catalogue entry

This slight sketch was made with the page turned horizontally. Cecilia Powell has identified the subject as Würzburg’s market place, with the Marienkapelle and Haus zum Falken, seen from Schönbornstrasse.1 The view is to the west from the end of the Obere Markt, with the apsidal east end of the Gothic church in the centre; the irregular roofline on the right is a loose approximation of the curling profiles of the three Baroque gables of the Haus zum Falken (or Falkenhaus), the rest of the elaborate façade being barely indicated by a few disjointed marks.
Like the view of the nearby Residenz palace on folio 73 recto opposite (D30598; Turner Bequest CCCIII 72) this hurried sketch may have been made around nightfall (the moon apparently being indicated on the verso of the other page, D30599), as Turner returned to his hotel (the Wittelsbacher Hof)2 overlooking the main market place on the far side of the church. There is a more detailed view of the west end of the church on folio 81 verso (D30615; CCCIII 80a). Another from that direction is the only view of the city in the contemporary Venice; Passau to Würzburg sketchbook (Tate D31376; Turner Bequest CCCX 51), drawn from the hotel itself.
As noted in its Introduction, Turner likely acquired this book in Würzburg and probably worked in from the ‘back’, as he did for the subsequent sequences along the Rhine and at Ostend, as he neared the end of the tour at the ‘front’. As subsequently foliated, this is the first of an extensive sequence of views, continuing to folio 90 recto (D30596–D30632; Turner Bequest CCCIII 71–89), with a further slight sketch the inside of the back cover and the verso of folio 90 (D41129–D41130), and possibly another inside the front cover (D41128). This was Turner’s first stay in the city, although he may have glimpsed it in 1835, while travelling past in the rain from Nuremberg to Frankfurt; see the Prague, Nuremberg, Frankfurt and Rhine sketchbook (Tate D30719; Turner Bequest CCCIV 47). Würzburg features in a rough sketch map of the course of the River Main inside the front cover of the Venice; Passau to Würzburg book (D41400).

Matthew Imms
September 2018

See Powell 1995, p.980.
See ibid., p.72.
Andrew Wilton, J.M.W. Turner: His Life and Work, Fribourg 1979, p.459 no.1321, as ‘Ehrenbreitstein and Coblenz’, c.1840, pl.242 (colour).
Ibid., no.1322, as ‘Ehrenbreitstein and Coblenz’, c.1840, reproduced; Powell 1995, p.174 no.105, as ‘Distant View of Würzburg from the South’, c.1840–1, reproduced in colour p.175.
See Finberg 1909, II, pp.1065, 1082.
See ibid., p.980.

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