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

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner Prague: View in the Old Town Square Looking towards the Kinsky Palace, Tyn Church, Fountain and Column of the Virgin; The Belvedere 1835

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Folio 37 Recto:
Prague: View in the Old Town Square Looking towards the Kinsky Palace, Tyn Church, Fountain and Column of the Virgin; The Belvedere 1835
D30366
Turner Bequest CCCI 37
Pencil on cream wove paper, 100 x 159 mm
Inscribed in pencil by Turner ‘Nine’ | ‘[...]’ top centre; ‘No Roof here’ centre towards right
Inscribed in red ink by Ruskin ‘37’ bottom right
Stamped in black ‘CCCI – 37’ bottom right
 
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
In this study Turner depicts the Old Town Square in Prague. At centre is Tyn Church, an imposing gothic edifice with twin towers which rise to eighty feet and are topped with a series of tapering pinnacles. ‘Nine’ is inscribed close to a group of these pinnacles, presumably to signify their number. To the left of the Church is Kinsky Palace, an eighteenth century mansion built for a wealthy noble family. The artist has also has written the note ‘No Roof here’ above a building to the right of Tyn. Next to the fountain in the foreground is the Column of the Virgin, erected to commemorate the end of an outbreak of plague which blighted Bohemia between 1713 and 1714. The column is crowned with a statue of the Virgin and a sculptural group of patron saints encircles the plinth. Turner recorded a similar Marian column whilst at Teplitz (Tate D30332; Turner Bequest CCCI 19).
Turner has used the space in the sky at right to sketch the Belvedere, a summer palace located within the imperial Castle complex.
Other drawings of Prague can be found at Tate D30344–D30361, D30364–D30366; Turner Bequest CCCI 25–33a, 36–37. The Prague, Nuremberg, Frankfurt and Rhine sketchbook of the same tour holds drawings of the city at Tate D30759–30761, D30764–D30765, D30767, D30771–D30773, D30775–D30777, D30779–D30783, D30788–D30790, D30792–D30803, D30805, D30807–D30811, D30813–D30820; Turner Bequest CCCIV 68–69, 70a–71, 72, 74–75, 76–77, 78–80, 82a–84, 85–91, 92, 93–96, 97–102.

Alice Rylance-Watson
September 2015

How to cite

Alice Rylance-Watson, ‘Prague: View in the Old Town Square Looking towards the Kinsky Palace, Tyn Church, Fountain and Column of the Virgin; The Belvedere 1835 by Joseph Mallord William Turner’, catalogue entry, September 2015, in David Blayney Brown (ed.), J.M.W. Turner: Sketchbooks, Drawings and Watercolours, Tate Research Publication, August 2017, https://www.tate.org.uk/art/research-publications/jmw-turner/joseph-mallord-william-turner-prague-view-in-the-old-town-square-looking-towards-the-r1186750, accessed 24 January 2022.