Joseph Mallord William Turner

Three Sketches of the Monument to General Hoche at Weissenthurm; Weissenthurm and Neuwied with the Flying Bridge, Looking down the Rhine


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

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Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 100 × 156 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCXCI 38

Catalogue entry

This slight landscape sketch shows the village of Weißenthurm, situated on the left bank of the Rhine opposite Neuweid, approximately twelve kilometres north-west of Koblenz. The tall tower at left, called the White Tower, signals Weißenthurm’s location and is the origin of the town’s name. The flying bridge over the Rhine, marked out by a short line of dashes, connects the town to Neuweid and is where ‘the steamers stop... to receive or let out passengers’, according to John Murray’s Hand-book for Travellers on the Continent.1
Weißenthurmn is also home to a memorial to the French Revolutionary General Louis Lazare Hoche (1768–1797), seen here at left and in a series of three jottings above the landscape. In April 1797 Hoche led a surprise attack against Franz von Werneck’s Austrian Army during the War of the First Coalition (1792–7). To mark his success in defeating the Austrians, an obelisk was erected in his honour and inscribed: ‘L’Armée de Sambre et Meuse à son Général Hoche’.2 Weißenthurmn was already synonymous with military triumph as Murray writes that ‘seventeen centuries before’ the Roman emperor Caesar had also ‘crossed the Rhine at the same spot’ when he led his army ‘against the Sicambri’. 3
Weißenthurmn and the monument to Hoche is pictured by Turner in the 1817 Rhine sketchbook (Tate D12950; Turner Bequest CLXI 36a) and in a highly finished watercolour of the same date (Taft Museum of Art, Cincinnati, Ohio).4

Alice Rylance-Watson
August 2013

John Murray, A Hand-book for Travellers on the Continent: Being a Guide Through Holland, Belgium, Prussia, and Northern Germany, and Along the Rhine, from Holland to Switzerland, London 1838, p.243.
Andrew Wilton, J.M.W. Turner: His Life and Work, Fribourg 1979, p.376 no.660.

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