Joseph Mallord William Turner

Three Sketches Making Up a Composite View of Koblenz and Ehrenbreitstein, Looking Downstream from near Pfaffendorf


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 78 × 118 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCXVI 139

Catalogue entry

Diligently executed, this is a multipart or composite drawing of Ehrenbreitstein fortress and city of Koblenz. It is composite because each section of the view is drawn in succession on the page, to be linked as one in the mind’s eye. The dimensions of the sketchbook are such that Turner could not draw one whole panoramic vista. He captures this prospect from a vantage point on the banks of the Rhine near Pfaffendorf, where he was afforded a view which encompassed the vast extent of the citadel. Other monuments feature too, including the austere palace of the last Elector of Trier (Turner has inscribed the numbers ‘5’ and ‘12’ on the inner and outer bays of the palace in this drawing), the pontoon bridge, the Basilica of St Castor and the Florinskirche.
For Turner’s earliest sketches of Koblenz and Ehrenbreitstein, produced in 1817, see Tate D12802–D12806, D12809, D12894–D12908; Turner Bequest CLX 52a–54a, 56, CLXI 7–15. His 1824 drawings include: Tate D19785, D19818–D19821, D19826, D19830; Turner Bequest CCXVI 117a, 134–135a, 138, 140. Later drawings from 1839 and colour studies can be found on: Tate D24804, D24809, D24833, D25307, D28302–D28303, D28351–D28356, D28444–D28447, D28529–D28536, D28603–D28609, D26613–D28614; Turner Bequest CCLIX 239, 244, 268, CCLXIII 185, CCLXXXIX 6a–7, CCXC 1–3a, 47a–49, 87a–91, CCXCI 34a–37a, 39a–40.

Alice Rylance-Watson
June 2014

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