Joseph Mallord William Turner

Traben, Trarbach, the Starkenburg and the Grevenburg, Looking Downstream


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite and chalk on paper
Support: 160 × 235 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCXIX 30

Display caption

As with no.39, one side of each page in this sketchbook is prepared with a grey wash on which, through a mixture of hatched pencil work, chalk and scratching out, Turner evocatively captures the variety and charm of the hills surrounding the Mosel. Here he shows the view downstream towards Traben on the left bank and Trarbach on the right, towns which can be seen again in four of his later coloured studies (nos.57-60).

Gallery label, August 2004

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Catalogue entry

This view shows the towns of Traben and Trarbach, overlooked on the right by the vestiges of the castle Grevenburg (see Tate D20186; Turner Bequest CCXIX 25). In the distance, on the left, is the Starkenburg, a ruined castle which crowns a towering ridge sloping down from the Hunsrück to the Moselle. Only the remnants of the castle’s curtain walls are discernable. Constructed on Roman foundations, Starkenburg fort was from 1125 the residence of the noble family of Sponheim, until the French Revolutionary armies dissolved their estate.
Both the Grevenburg and Starkenburg are recorded in the Rivers Meuse and Moselle sketchbook of 1824 (Tate D19771; Turner Bequest CCXVI 111a).

Alice Rylance-Watson
November 2013

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