Joseph Mallord William Turner

The River Danube between the Strudel and Grein; Schloss Greinburg


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 198 × 127 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCXCIX 31 a

Catalogue entry

As identified by Cecilia Powell,1 with the page used vertically there are four related River Danube views here, one above the other, with smoke from a distant steamer evident in the last. A fifth view, with the page turned horizontally, is addressed below. Discussing Turner’s Danube route between folios 31 verso–38 recto (D30059–D30072;2 like much of this sketchbook, apparently used in reverse of their present foliation), Powell has observed that within a brief stretch of two or three miles his ‘most intensive sequence of sketches, occupying fourteen pages, was made during the steamer’s cautious passage upstream from St Nikola to Grein, past the Wirbel and the Strudel’3 (both translating as ‘whirlpool’). These hazardous rapids, shown on old maps respectively east and west of Struden and nearby Burg Werfenstein, no longer exist following the elimination of associated rocks to improve navigation later in the nineteenth century.
For other views around the Strudel and the adjacent Insel Wörth, with its ruined castle, see folios 32 recto–36 verso (D30060–D30069); see also the 1833 Salzburg and Danube sketchbook (Tate D30249, D30251–D30252; Turner Bequest CCC 60a, 61a, 62). Fortuitously, Turner had recently made thumbnail sketches of existing prints of the subject; see folios 12 verso and 13 recto (D30025–D30026). For the Wirbel, see under folio 37 recto (D30070).
The fifth drawing, at right-angles along the gutter, shows the imposing Schloss Greinburg (somewhat inaccurately labelled ‘Krennenburg’), north-west of the tight bend at Grein, about a mile to the west of the Strudel. For other views from this journey and 1833, see under folio 15 verso (D30031). Although Turner’s route upriver was straightforward, his somewhat haphazard use of this book to record it was not. For the geographical sequence of identified views between Vienna and Passau (see under folios 40 recto and 31 recto; D30076, D30058), see this sketchbook’s Introduction.

Matthew Imms
September 2018

See Powell 1995, p.241.
See ibid., p.81 note 32.
Ibid., p.68.

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