Joseph Mallord William Turner

The Rhine Falls at Schaffhausen, from the Belvedere below Laufen Castle


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 198 × 163 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest LXXVIII 18 v

Catalogue entry

Not previously listed or described, this subject was identified by David Hill. It was presumably the last sketch Turner made in the sketchbook and his first impression of the falls which he made a detour to see in the final stages of his 1802 tour. Having passed through Zurich and Baden he turned along the Rhine to Schaffhausen before retracing his steps towards Basle, where he made his last drawings in Switzerland. The view of the falls sketched here was – and indeed remains today – the closest and most dramatic, but as Hill notes, the belvedere is constantly showered with spray. Hence this rapid memorandum was all Turner managed and his other drawings, on larger sheets of paper, were made from drier or more distant viewpoints or from the opposite bank of the river (for example Tate D04875–D04879; Turner Bequest LXXIX A–E). The belvedere with its wooden platform is clearly seen in Turner’s oil, Fall of the Rhine at Schaffhausen, painted for the Royal Academy of 1806 (Museum of Fine Arts, Boston).1

David Blayney Brown
June 2003

Martin Butlin and Evelyn Joll, The Paintings of J.M.W. Turner, revised ed., New Haven and London 1984, pp.48–9 no.61 (pl.72).

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