Joseph Mallord William Turner

The Neupfarrkirche, Regensburg, from the South-West Corner of the Neupfarrplatz

1840

In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Graphite on paper
Dimensions
Support: 126 × 198 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D31311
Turner Bequest CCCX 18 a

Catalogue entry

The drawing was made with the page turned horizontally. As identified by Cecilia Powell, on the right is the apsidal west end of Regensburg’s austere late Gothic-Renaissance Neupfarrkirche,1 flanked by its crossing towers. The dark shape in the foreground is the elaborate Reichsstadtbrunnen fountain, and in the distance beyond pitched roofs marking the extent of the twin west towers of the cathedral at that time; they were only extended to their full eventual height, including elaborate Gothic spires, later in the nineteenth century. The slightly hasty quality of the drawing and the unusual introduction of rough diagonal hatching across the foreground may indicate that the drawing was made towards nightfall, as the light faded in the square. A more detailed view of the church and Neupfarrplatz from the opposite direction (folio 41 verso; D31357), was made from the artist’s hotel overlooking the square.
This was Turner’s only visit to the medieval city, at the confluence of the Rivers Danube and Regen. He made other drawings of its cathedral and a few of its notable buildings, its skyline of towers and spires, the Danube waterfront and the long Steinerne Brücke; see also folios 32 recto–33 recto, 38 verso–40 verso, 42 verso, 43 verso, 44 verso, 45 verso, 46 verso and 47 recto (D31338–D31340, D31351–D31355, D31359, D31361, D31363, D31365, D31367–D31368). There are also contemporary pencil sketches on separate sheets of grey paper (Tate D32185, D34081, D36150–D36151, D36153; Turner Bequest CCCXVII 6, CCCXLI 360, CCCLXIV 293, 294, 296), most of which were developed with watercolour and gouache. Three watercolours on conventional white paper outside the Bequest relate to sketches in this book, as discussed in its Introduction.
The newest attraction in the area was the ambitious Greek temple-style Walhalla monument, nearing completion high above the Danube at Donaustauf, not far downstream; see under folio 33 verso (D31341). For Regensburg within Turner’s overall tour itinerary, see the sketchbook’s Introduction.2

Matthew Imms
September 2018

1
See Powell 1995, p.242.
2
See also ibid., pp.69–70, 81 note 45, 165–8.

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