Joseph Mallord William Turner

Ürzig and the Hermitage on the Michaelslei

c.1839

In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

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Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Gouache and watercolour on paper
Dimensions
Support: 137 × 191 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D24789
Turner Bequest CCLIX 224

Catalogue entry

Here Turner depicts the curve of the Moselle as it meanders towards the village of Ürzig in Germany. The village is seen at far left and is identifiable by a small chapel. Opposite a spit of sand upon which a group of boatmen congregate is the Michaelslei, a vast ridge of rock rendered with vivid amber and rust gouache, its striations described with fine red ink. Within the façade of this ‘high red cliff’, writes Quin, ‘may be seen a castellated wall’ which ‘covers the mouth of a cavern... occupied in the olden time by a band of robbers, each of whom, however, claimed to be of some order of knighthood’ and ‘was in a later age the residence of a pious hermit’.1 River boatmen are sketched summarily in sepia ink, in a similar manner to the figures in Turner’s Cochem from Cond gouache (Tate D24725; Turner Bequest CCLIX 160).
1
Michael Joseph Quin, Steam voyages on the Seine, the Moselle, & the Rhine: with railroad visits to the principal cities of Belgium, London 1843, p.8.
Verso:
Inscribed in pencil ‘CCLIX 224’ bottom right

Alice Rylance-Watson
September 2013

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