J.M.W. Turner: Sketchbooks, Drawings and Watercolours

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner Coblenz and the Fortress of Ehrenbreitstein, Looking Downstream from the Town of Ehrenbreitstein 1839

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Folio 1 Verso:
Coblenz and the Fortress of Ehrenbreitstein, Looking Downstream from the Town of Ehrenbreitstein 1839
Turner Bequest CCXC 1 a
Pencil flecked off-white wove paper, 100 x 163 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
This slight and roughly rendered sketch depicts the fortress of Ehrenbreitstein, or Festung Ehrenbreitstein, which crowns the lofty heights in the background. A citadel has dominated this site on the east bank of the Rhine opposite the town of Koblenz since the eleventh century.1 Besieged by the French during their revolutionary wars, it was later expanded under the orders of the Prussian King Friedrich Wilhelm III between 1817 and 1828 to guard the middle Rhine region. The town of Koblenz has been sketched in summary profile in the foreground and middle distance. The domed building at the centre and towards the right may be the Church of the Holy Cross, which lies next to the Heribertturm (the Tower of Heribert). The church is depicted in a highly detailed pencil drawing of 1817 (Tate D12803; Turner Bequest CLX 53).
For other drawings of Ehrenbreitstein and Koblenz in this sketchbook see Tate D28351, D28353, D28356, D28437–D28447, D28530–D28533; Turner Bequest CCXC 1, 2, 3a, 44–49, 88–89a. See also Enhrenbreitstein in depicted in two other sketchbooks belonging to the 1839 tour: the First Mossel and Oxford (Tate D28297, D28301, D28306, D28316, D28317; Turner Bequest CCLXXXIX 4, 6, 7, 8a, 13a, 14) and the Cochem to Coblenz – Home (Tate D28603, D28605–D28607; Turner Bequest CCXCI 34a, 35a–36a).
For earlier depictions of Ehrenbreitstein see the Waterloo and Rhine sketchbook of 1817 (Tate D12781–D12783, D12802–D12806, D12809; Turner Bequest CLX 42–43, 52a–54a, 56); the Rhine sketchbook of the same date (Tate D12894, D12899, D12901–D12902, D12908; Turner Bequest 7, 10, 11–11a, 15); the Rivers Meuse and Moselle sketchbook of 1824 (Tate D19785, D19818–D19821, D19826–D19830; Turner Bequest CCXVI 117 a, 134–135a, 138–140). There are also a number of fine colour drawings depicting the fortress and neighbouring Koblenz, some of which include: Tate D24804, D24809, D24833, D36138, D36206; Turner Bequest CCLIX 239, 244, 268, CCCLXIV 285, 346.
‘Festung Ehrenbreitstein’, Koblenz-Touristik, http://www.koblenz-touristik.de/en/places-of-interest/buildings-and-places/festung-ehrenbreitstein.html, accessed 11 July 2013.
Technical notes:
There is staining from the leather overlaps on the outside cover at the top and bottom left and right of the page.

Alice Rylance-Watson
July 2013

How to cite

Alice Rylance-Watson, ‘Coblenz and the Fortress of Ehrenbreitstein, Looking Downstream from the Town of Ehrenbreitstein 1839 by Joseph Mallord William Turner’, catalogue entry, July 2013, in David Blayney Brown (ed.), J.M.W. Turner: Sketchbooks, Drawings and Watercolours, Tate Research Publication, November 2014, https://www.tate.org.uk/art/research-publications/jmw-turner/joseph-mallord-william-turner-coblenz-and-the-fortress-of-ehrenbreitstein-looking-r1150637, accessed 24 October 2019.