Joseph Mallord William Turner

Two Distant Views of Thionville from the Moselle


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 30

Catalogue entry

The larger of the two sketches shows a small harbour on the Moselle where sailing boats and other light craft are moored. Turner has annotated the drawing with ‘waiting for the ferry’ at the bottom left, implying that he sketched this scene whilst doing exactly that. Thionville is visible in the distance, the twin towers of the Church of Maximin and the bell-tower of the town hall rendered in tentative and agile line.
There is a further sketch of this riverside scene drawn inversely to the principal image and running parallel to the gutter of the book. A figure can be seen sailing a small boat on the Moselle, whilst a woman, described by Turner as a ‘blanchisseuse’ (the French for ‘washerwoman’), stands at the bank. Behind the small shack to the left is an inscription ‘Nets dry’.
For other views of Thionville in this sketchbook see Tate D28224, D28237; Turner Bequest CCLXXXVIII 29a, 37; see also the Rivers Meuse and Moselle sketchbook of 1824 (Tate D19710; Turner Bequest CCXVI 81).

Alice Rylance-Watson
May 2013

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