Joseph Mallord William Turner

Traben, Trarbach and the Grevenburg, Looking Downstream


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 100 × 163 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCXC 20 a

Catalogue entry

Here Turner has pictured the villages of Traben on the left bank of the Moselle and Trarbach on the right. Rendered in tentative line, the profile of the majestic ruined Castle of Grevenburg can be seen in the distance. Grevenburg was constructed in 1350 by Count Johann III of Sponheim-Starkenburg but was later conquered in 1680 by Louis XIV of France and extended, together with the fort of Montroyal, as part of the King’s artillery.1 The castle was besieged on a number of occasions between 1702 and 1730 and was finally destroyed by the French in 1734.2 The hollowed remains of Grevenburg’s western wall and keep are largely intact, though huge swathes of its masonry have plunged into the valley beneath.
This sketch and another of Grevenburg on folio 21 recto (Tate D28391; Turner Bequest CCXC 21) formed the basis of a gouache and watercolour drawing of c.1839 (Tate D20275; Turner Bequest CCXXII P).
For other sketches of Traben, Trarbach and the Grevenburg in this book see Tate D28391–D28395, D28400–D28401; Turner Bequest CCXC 21–23, 25a–26. See also the First Mossel and Oxford sketchbook of the 1839 tour (Tate D28308, D28310; Turner Bequest CCLXXXIX 9a, 10a). For other 1839 colour drawings see Tate D20223, D20234, D20240, D20259; Turner Bequest CCXX P, CCXXI A, G, Z).

Alice Rylance-Watson
July 2013

‘Grevenburg Castle Ruins’, Mosel Treffpunkt: Traben-Trarbach,, accessed 16 July 2013.

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