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.