Joseph Mallord William Turner

Views of Bamberg, with the Geyerswörth Palace, Altes Rathaus, Obere Pfarrkirche, Michaelsberg and Cathedral


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 198 × 126 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCCX 26 a

Display caption

After using this sketchbook in Venice, Turner laid it aside for a week while sketching in no.64, but brought it out again on reaching Passau. It provides a full record of his homeward journey through Regensburg, Nuremberg, Bamberg and Coburg to Würzburg, many of Turner's small pencil sketches showing the same sights in Bavaria that he was also recording in watercolour in a larger sketchbook and on loose sheets of grey and brown paper. He stayed at the Three Crowns hotel in Bamberg on 16-17 September. Among his sketches of the Obere Pfarrkirche and the Old Town Hall on its island are some less imposing subjects simply annotated 'Back of 3 Crowns'.

Gallery label, September 2004

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Catalogue entry

There are five bands of sketches down the vertical page, the upper three aligned with the sketchbook’s foliation, and the two below inverted. Cecilia Powell has identified the subjects,1 which show various aspects of central Bamberg, not far from where Turner was staying at the Drei Kronen hotel (Three Crowns); for numerous other views of the town in this sketchbook, see under folio 19 recto (D31312).2
At the top is the domed Geyerswörth palace at the north end of the island in the River Regnitz in the middle of the town, with the lantern of the Altes Rathaus set on its bridge beyond, and the twin spires of the Michaelsberg abbey in the distance to the west-north-west. The second view is from near the river a little further south, looking west to the Gothic Obere Pfarrkirche, with the enclosed platform around the top of its tower, and the dome of the Geyerswörth on the right. The third drawing, left of centre, is a more generic street view at the ‘Back of [the] 3 Crowns’, as Turner notes.
Of the two drawings the other way up, the upper again shows the Altes Rathaus across the Obere Brücke on the right with the Geyerswörth now on the left and the Obere Pfarrkirche beyond to the south-west. Second, towards the centre of the page, is a less detailed variant, this time with the spires of the Cathedral in the gap, towards the west. Trees along the river now obscure some sightlines.

Matthew Imms
September 2018

See Powell 1995, pp.144, 243.
See also Powell 1995, pp.71, 82 note 58.

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