Joseph Mallord William Turner

Views of Poilvache

1824

In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Graphite on paper
Dimensions
Support: 118 × 78 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D19653
Turner Bequest CCXVI 52

Catalogue entry

These drawings of the ruined medieval fortress of Poilvache are a continuation of those on the folio opposite (Tate D19652; Turner Bequest CCXVI 51a). In the uppermost view Turner shows the tiny village of Houx (inscribed as ‘Hahu’), dwarfed at the foot of a vertiginous cliff atop which the castle stands. As the Victorian author and journalist Dudley Costello writes, Poilvache ‘hangs nearly perpendicularly’ over Houx, the village in turn overlooking the Meuse (labelled as ‘Mus’ in Turner’s sketch).1 Various other drawings of the castle fill the page, some diminutive and squared off, others showing the full extent of the ruin’s vast scale.

Alice Rylance-Watson
March 2014

1
Dudley Costello, A Tour through the Valley of the Meuse, London 1846, p.255.

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