Joseph Mallord William Turner

Treis from the North


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Gouache and watercolour on paper
Support: 136 × 190 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCXX Z

Catalogue entry

This gouache depicting Treis from a northerly vantage point is based on a pencil sketch in the Cochem to Coblenz – Home sketchbook (Tate D28557; Turner Bequest CCXCI 11). Treis is described by the travel writer Michael Joseph Quin as ‘an ancient Roman town, distinguished by a peculiarly elegant modern church’.1 Quin speaks here of the Church of St Johann, which is depicted in this drawing in the middle distance, highlighted with short daubs of white gouache. St Johann was designed by the architect J.C. Lassaulx (1781–1848), constructed just after Turner’s first tour of the Meuse-Moselle region in 1824, and finished seven years later in 1831.2 The Burg Treis, the town’s medieval stronghold, is situated on a higher ridge behind and to the right of St Johann.
The tiny chapel pictured at left, perched atop a craggy pinnacle, is the Zilleskapelle. It is rendered gleaming and pearl-like by Turner with dashes of white gouache. The pointed and diagonally protruding ridge is painted with streaks of amber, mauve, forest green and pale rose, and Turner re-uses these hues in his representation of the hills beyond.
Turner’s palette here is similar to other 1839 gouaches such as Tate D24717, D24823; Turner Bequest CCLIX 152, 258.
Michael Joseph Quin, Steam voyages on the Seine, the Moselle, & the Rhine: with railroad visits to the principal cities of Belgium, London 1843, p.51.
Wolfgang Cortjaens, Jan De Maeyer, and Tom Verschaffel, Historismus und kulturelle Identitat im Raum Rhein-Maas, Leuven 2008, p.254.
Technical notes:
There has been some fading and discolouration of the pigment and support due to exposure to sunlight following the picture’s exhibition.
Inscribed in pencil ‘11 b’ at centre towards right. There is also a pencil ‘Z’ shaped scribble at bottom centre

Alice Rylance-Watson
September 2013

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