Joseph Mallord William Turner

Views of Bonn, with the Sterntor Gate and the Spire of the Minster; a Man with ?a Barrow Pulled by a Dog


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 148 x 195 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCCXLI 195

Catalogue entry

Karl Heinz Stader has identified the somewhat fragmentary architectural studies here as showing aspects of Bonn: ‘Wenn auch nur angedeutet, so gibt die Skizze unverkennbar die Außenansicht des alten Sterntores vom ehemaligen Viehmarkt, dem heutigen Friedensplatz, wieder. Die zweite, kleinere Skizze auf diesem Feld bietet eine Teil der Uferfront mit Gertrudenkapelle festhält.’ (If only hinted at, the sketch unmistakably reflects the exterior view of the old Sterntor from the former cattle market, today’s Friedensplatz. The second, smaller sketch on this sheet shows part of the waterfront with the Gertrudenkapelle.)1
The arched Sterntor gateway was moved a little way south during improvements in 1898, and now forms a free-standing feature on Vivatsgasse,2 flanked by a square tower to its left and a round one to its right. Old photographs of the lost Gertrudenkapelle (or Gertrudiskapelle) near the Rhine show a more slender steeple than the one at the bottom right, which appears rather to be the one soaring over the crossing of the Minster (Bonner Münster), not far south-east of the Sterntor, with triangular gables at the base of the octagonal-section spire. There is a view of the city’s market place on a related sheet (Tate D33899; Turner Bequest CCCXLI 194), under which studies from earlier tours are noted. The dogs shown resting there were likely used to pull traders’ barrows, as discussed in the entry, and the slight study at the top left here (at first sight suggesting a man ploughing) possibly shows one at this work.
This sheet was among those listed in broad terms by Cecilia Powell, as quoted in the technical notes below, in relation to a group of thirteen similar drawings mostly made along rural stretches of the River Rhine. For the likely sequence of the Rhine subjects in this grouping and the wider context of the tour, see the Introduction to this subsection. The other side of this sheet, D33912 (Turner Bequest CCCXLI 207), shows the Drachenfels, about ten miles upriver from Bonn.
Stader 1981, p.43, with present author’s translation.
See ‘Sterntor City Gate’, Bonn Region, accessed 4 September 2018,

Matthew Imms
September 2018

Powell 1995, pp.150–1.
Finberg 1909, II, p.1073.
See also Powell 1995, p.145.

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