Joseph Mallord William Turner

Veste Coburg and Schloss Ernsthöhe (later Hohenfels) from the West; Figures; Veste Coburg above the Itz Valley; St Moriz’s Church and Schloss Ehrenburg, Coburg; Veste Coburg from Schloss Ernsthöhe

1840

In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Graphite on paper
Dimensions
Support: 126 × 198 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D31319
Turner Bequest CCCX 22 a

Catalogue entry

Most of the several sketches here were made with the page turned horizontally. Finberg thought the subjects centred on Schloss Rosenau, about four miles along the Itz Valley north-east of Coburg (see under folio 22 recto; D31318).1 However, Cecilia Powell has shown that they represent various views around Coburg itself.2
At the top right, the most detailed view shows the austerely neo-classical Schloss Ernsthöhe, ‘built for Duke Ernst von Württemberg, a cousin of Prince Albert, and ... completed in the very year of Turner’s visit’3 (later known as Schloss Hohenfels, and currently the Medau-Schule) on its hill just north-west of the town in the right foreground, with the Veste Coburg fortress across the Itz Valley to the south-south-east, high above parkland on the far side of Coburg. Schloss Ernsthöhe has since been hemmed in by thick trees, and the valley has been largely built over. It is unclear whether the passing figures are part of the scene or, perhaps more likely, separate studies. The prospect to the distant castle is somewhat overshadowed by the second version of that part of the scene added on about twice the scale immediately above it. Powell recognised the view as the source of an airy, freely worked watercolour study (Tate D36187; Turner Bequest CCCLXIV 329),4 also catalogued under the present tour. Compare the main view on folio 23 recto opposite (D31320), itself the basis for a similar watercolour (D35948; CCCLXIV 105).
Framed by pencil lines at the bottom left is another distant view of Veste Coburg; to its left is the west front of St Moriz’s church in the centre of the town, with its conspicuously unequal twin towers, with what appears to be the tower of nearby Schloss Ehrenburg to its left. This thumbnail sketch is helpfully marked ‘Co’.
Finally, at right-angles on the left and separated by a pencil line, is a view across the valley towards Veste Coburg from immediately outside Schloss Ernsthöhe, with some slight architectural details and abbreviated notes on the colours of a flag; Veste Coburg itself is shown where the view continues to the left across D31320. For the numerous other Coburg views in this book, see under folio 1 verso (D31278).5

Matthew Imms
September 2018

1
See Finberg 1909, II, p.997.
2
See Powell 1995, pp.242–3.
3
Ibid., p.173.
4
See ibid.
5
See also Powell 1995, pp.72, 82 notes 63 and 64.

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