Joseph Mallord William Turner

The Moselle Front at Koblenz, Looking Downstream with Moored Boats, and People at Work

1824

Not on display

Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Graphite on paper
Dimensions
Support: 78 x 118 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D19822
Turner Bequest CCXVI 136

Catalogue entry

Sketching from a vantage point on the waterfront, Turner captures this lively scene of workaday life in the city of Koblenz. The view is rendered with deft and nimble handling, and encompasses a parade of moored and canopied fishing barges, folk buying and selling their wares and sailors loading and unloading their craft at quayside. The hubbub of Koblenz appealed to Turner and the Victorian travel writer Bartholomew Stritch alike, the latter writing that: ‘there are few cities’ which offer a ‘more interesting or striking aspect’ to the visitor.1 Given the city’s ‘advantageous and beautiful position’ at the confluence of the Rhine and Moselle Rivers, ‘animation and bustle... pervade its quays, and principal streets, crowded as they always are in summer, by numerous hordes of travellers’.2 In all, the vigour and vivacity of the city impressed upon Stritch a ‘lively idea of its importance’.3
More sketches of Koblenz can be found in this book on Tate D19818–D19821, D19823–D19830; Turner Bequest CCXVI 134–135a, 136a–140.

Alice Rylance-Watson
June 2014

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.67.
2
Ibid.
3
Ibid.

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