Joseph Mallord William Turner

The River Inn at Passau, with the Cathedral on the Altstadt, and the Oberhaus Beyond


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

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

Catalogue entry

As identified by Cecilia Powell,1 with the page turned horizontally the view is north across the River Inn to the centre of Passau, apparently with slight indications of the receding roadbed of the Marienbrücke in the foreground. The twin towers at the west end of the Baroque St Stephen’s Cathedral have since been extended upwards with cupolas to about the same height as the main dome. The Oberhaus fortress is shown beyond at the top right, overlooking the River Danube on the far side of the city centre. The view is continued to the right with a separate full-page drawing on folio 30 recto (D30056).
Passau is shown on several other pages in the present book (folios 17 verso, 18 recto, 22 verso, 23 recto, 28 recto, and 30 recto and verso; D30035–D30036, D30044–D30045, D30054, D30056–D30057), and in numerous pencil sketches in the contemporary Venice; Passau to Würzburg book (see under Tate D31371; Turner Bequest CCCX 48a). There are also colour studies on separate sheets (D28993, D29006; CCXCII 46, 57), and watercolours and an untinted drawing in the larger Passau and Burg Hals sketchbook (D33668, D33674–D33675; CCCXL 3, 9, 10). These led to one finished watercolour, of Passau, Germany, at the Confluence of the Rivers Inn and Danube (National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin),2 discussed under folio 18 recto (D30036).
For the city in the context of the overall route embodied in the present sketchbook, see the Introduction.

Matthew Imms
September 2018

See Powell 1995, p.241.
Andrew Wilton, J.M.W. Turner: His Life and Work, Fribourg 1979, p.458 no.1317, reproduced.

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