Joseph Mallord William Turner

Trier from Pallien, Looking up the Moselle with the Roman Bridge in the Distance and the Napoleonsbrücke on the Right


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite, watercolour and chalk on paper
Support: 220 × 291 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCXVIII 8

Display caption

Nos.39 and 40 were the first sketchbooks with soft covers that Turner took on a foreign tour, no.39 containing the only coloured drawings of the 1824 tour. That on f.8r shows the view up the Mosel at Trier, with the cathedral on the left and the Roman bridge in the distance, from a viewpoint much favoured in the nineteenth century for the splendid prospect of the city it affords, especially towards evening. The overall mood is one of serenity, as it is also in a similar study of Trier inspired by Turner's visit to the same spot fifteen years later (no.47).

Gallery label, August 2004

Does this text contain inaccurate information or language that you feel we should improve or change? We would like to hear from you.

Catalogue entry

This drawing shows the ancient Roman city of Trier from the opposite bank of the Moselle at Pallien. The Römerbrücke, a bridge dating back from the second century AD, spans the river in the middle distance, leading the eye towards St Gangolf’s Church, the Cathedral of Saint Peter and Liebfrauenkirche at left. In the foreground at far right, is a section of the Napoleonsbrücke, a legacy of engineering left by the Napoleonic regime. This stone road bridge was constructed in the early nineteenth century across the gorge at Pallien to facilitate the French Imperial armies’ efficient passage from Trier to Aachen.
The stillness of the river and skies evoke a sense of placidity, a stillness associated with the earliest morning hours or twilight. Turner’s palette is rich and complex, comprised of a range of mauve, rust, moss, teal and olive watercolour. Pigment is applied in translucent strokes and daubs, which are in some areas layered with dry brush and in others left to bleed and feather into one another.
Turner drew similar scenes of Trier from Pallien in this sketchbook on Tate D20148, D20149, D20151; Turner Bequest CCXVIII 10, 11, 13. See also the Rivers Meuse and Moselle sketchbook of 1824 (Tate D19729, D19733–D19738; Turner Bequest CCXVI 90a, 92a–95) and the later watercolour and gouache drawing of 1839 (Tate D24715; Turner Bequest CCLIX 150).
Inscribed in pencil ‘CCXVIII 8’ at bottom centre.

Alice Rylance-Watson
December 2013

Read full Catalogue entry


You might like

In the shop