Joseph Mallord William Turner

Würzburg from the Käppele, with the Marienberg and River Main beyond the Stations of the Cross


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 250 × 337 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCCXLIV 152

Catalogue entry

Würzburg, as Finberg recognised,1 is seen from just east of the Käppele pilgrimage church, shown high up at the left-hand edge and again in a separate detail below, looking down from the Nikolausberg over the valley of the River Main. To the north beyond the church is the Marienberg fortress, with the domes and spires of the city to the north-east on the opposite bank. Domed Baroque pavilions containing sculptures of the Stations of the Cross line the long sequence of steps and terraces approaching the church.
Turner was recorded in Würzburg on 23 September 1840, and after rounding off the southern German pages of his Venice; Passau to Würzburg sketchbook with a view from his hotel (Tate D31376; Turner Bequest CCCX 51), he filled about a quarter of his tour’s final book, Würzburg, Rhine and Ostend, with a thorough survey in and around the picturesque city; see under Tate D30596 (Turner Bequest CCCIII 71). There are also two watercolour and gouache studies on blue and grey papers (respectively Tate D36157, D36158; Turner Bequest CCCLXIV 300, 301), one in pencil on blue (D25101; CCLXII 1), and two related pencil drawings on larger sheets of white (the present work and D34515; CCCXLIV 151). All show the Marienberg on the left, with the city below to the east, as do two watercolours (currently untraced;2 National Museum Wales, Cardiff3), ‘similar in size to TB CCCXLIV 151 and 152 and ... probably painted over pencil sketches drawn on the spot’, as Cecilia Powell has noted.4 D34515 is a close variant of the present view, but excludes the Käppele.
Powell pictured ‘a point when Turner could bear the confinement of his small sketchbook no longer’,5 and these views on the separate sheets are independent of those in the Würzburg, Rhine and Ostend book. The Marienberg appears many times within it, but only D30620 (CCCIII 83) shows it with the city from the south, from down on the opposite bank of the Main; D30630 (CCCIII 88) is among sketches showing the distant Käppele beyond the fortress to the south-west, looking back in the opposite direction.
See Finberg 1909, II, p.1120.
Andrew Wilton, J.M.W. Turner: His Life and Work, Fribourg 1979, p.459 no.1321, as ‘Ehrenbreitstein and Coblenz’, c.1840, pl.242 (colour).
Ibid., no.1322, as ‘Ehrenbreitstein and Coblenz’, c.1840, reproduced; Powell 1995, p.174 no.105, as ‘Distant View of Würzburg from the South’, c.1840–1, reproduced in colour p.175.
Powell 1995, p.174.
Ibid., p.72.
See Finberg 1909, II, pp.1065, 1082.

Matthew Imms
September 2018

Read full Catalogue entry

You might like

In the shop