Joseph Mallord William Turner

Trier from the Moselle Showing St Paulin’s Church, the Porta Nigra, the Cathedral, Liebfrauenkirche, St Gangolf’s Church and Basilica


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 101 × 168 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCLXXXVIII 45 a

Catalogue entry

This rough and swiftly rendered sketch of the ancient city of Trier incorporates the majority of its ecclesiastical buildings and sites of historical interest. From left to right can be seen: the baroque Church of St Paulin, with its elaborate tower, cupola and lanterned spire; the ruin of the Porta Nigra, a Roman city gate; the Romanesque Cathedral of St Peter and the adjacent thirteenth-century Liebfrauenkirche; the fifteenth-century Church St Gangolf with its lofty four-storey tower and spire; and finally, the imposing Basilica of Constantine or Aula Palatina, a Roman palace basilica built in the fourth century by the Emperor Constantine.
The banks of the Moselle are marked out in tentative line in the foreground with what appears to be a bridge at bottom right.
Other views of Trier in this sketchbook include Tate D28186, D28206, D28207, D28244, D28246, D28247, D28250, D28255, D28256, D28258–D28260, D28263, D28264; Turner Bequest CCLXXXVIII 10a, 20a, 21, 42a, 43a, 44, 46, 49a, 50, 51–52, 54a, 55). The city is also depicted in earlier sketchbooks associated with Turner’s 1824 tour of the region; see the Rivers Meuse and Moselle sketchbook (Tate D19725, D19726, D19728–D19730, D19732–D19743; Turner Bequest CCLXXXVIII 88a, 89, 90–91, 92–97a; the Huy and Dinant sketchbook (Tate D20091, D20111, D20115; Turner Bequest CCXVII 5, 17a, 21; the Trèves and Rhine sketchbook (Tate D20141, D20142, D20145, D20146, D20148, D20149–D20154; Turner Bequest CCXVIII 3, 4, 7, 8, 10, 11–16. See also two gouache and watercolour drawings of the city: one of the Porta Nigra (Tate D20230; Turner Bequest CCXX W) and the other of Trier from the west (Tate D24715; Turner Bequest CCLIX 150).

Alice Rylance-Watson
May 2013

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