Joseph Mallord William Turner

The Rhine towards Rolandseck, Nonnenwerth and the Drachenfels, Looking down the River from Unkel

1840

Not on display

Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Graphite on paper
Dimensions
Support: 104 × 170 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D30510
Turner Bequest CCCIII 27

Catalogue entry

The drawing was made with the page turned horizontally. As identified by Cecilia Powell,1 it shows a view towards Rolandseck, Nonnenwerth island and the Drachenfels hill on the Rhine, looking north down the river from near Unkel on the east bank, with the spire of St Pantaleon’s Church on the right. The same spire appears to be shown less clearly on the verso (D30511), while a similar aspect of the view beyond is shown on folio 27 verso opposite (D30509; Turner Bequest CCCIII 26v).
Finberg read Turner’s inscription as ‘Caub’, referring to Kaub, on the Rhine a long way south of this point (see under folio 54 verso; D30563; CCCIII 53a), but Powell’s more prosaic suggestion of ‘Cow’ (or ‘Cows’) seems a likely observation from the passing scene.
Powell has noted that Turner neared the end of this tour following ‘the familiar route of the Rhine between Mainz and Cologne. He almost certainly travelled by steamer, ... sketching most of the well-known sights perfunctorily as he passed.’2 Given that this sketchbook was used in reverse of its subsequent foliation, she has specified the overall range of this phase as ‘TB CCCIII 68v–20v; 11r’,3 indicating folios 12 recto and 21 verso–69 verso (D30479, D30497–D30592; Turner Bequest CCCIII 20a–68a); see this book’s Introduction for the full itinerary of this part of the journey.
For other Unkel views, see the 1817 Waterloo and Rhine sketchbook (Tate D12788–D12789, D12860; Turner Bequest CLX 45a, 46, 81a), the 1833 Brussels up to Mannheim – Rhine sketchbook (D29663; CCXCVI 34), and the 1844 Ostend, Rhine and Berne sketchbook (D33041, D33087; CCCXXVII 3, 28). For Rolandseck and the Drachenfels, see under folio 23 recto (D30500; CCCIII 22); and for Nonnenwerth, under folio 25 verso (D30505; CCCIII 24a).

Matthew Imms
September 2018

1
Powell 1995, p.246.
2
Ibid., p.72.
3
Ibid., p.82 note 70.

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