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

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner Ürzig and the Hermitage on the Michaelslei, Looking Upstream 1824

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Folio 23 Recto:
Ürzig and the Hermitage on the Michaelslei, Looking Upstream 1824
D20184
Turner Bequest CCXIX 23
Pencil, chalk and watercolour on white wove paper, 160 x 235 mm
Watermark ‘j wh[atman] | turk[ey mills] | 1[824]’
Inscribed in red ink ‘23’ by Ruskin bottom right
Blind-stamped with Turner Bequest monogram bottom right
Stamped in black ‘CCXIX–23’ bottom right
 
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
This sketch depicts the village of Ürzig on the left and the Michaelslei, a rocky outcrop on one of the surrounding hillsides. The Irish author and traveller Michael Joseph Quin describes it as an attractive destination for tourists, writing:
in the face of a high red cliff called Michaelsley, may be a castellated wall. This wall covers the mouth of a cavern, which was occupied in the olden time by a band of robbers, each of whom, however, claimed to be of some order of knighthood: it was in a later age the residence of a pious hermit.1
Accessible ‘only by means of a succession of ladders’, it is no surprise, then, that Turner only captured it from afar from his boat.
Turner’s handling here is fluid and immediate, especially in his rendering of the crags and fissures of the mountains. He has applied chalk in swift, rough hatches to show the fall of light on the land and water.
Ürzig and the Michaelslei are recorded elsewhere in the 1824 Rivers Meuse and Moselle sketchbook (Tate D19761–D19762; Turner Bequest CCXVI 106a–107) and in drawings belonging to the 1839 tour (Tate D24789, D28404–D28405; Turner Bequest CCLIX 224, CCXC 27a–28).

Alice Rylance-Watson
November 2013

1
Michael Joseph Quin, Steam voyages on the Seine, the Moselle, & the Rhine: with railroad visits to the principal cities of Belgium, London 1843, p.51.

How to cite

Alice Rylance-Watson, ‘Ürzig and the Hermitage on the Michaelslei, Looking Upstream 1824 by Joseph Mallord William Turner’, catalogue entry, November 2013, in David Blayney Brown (ed.), J.M.W. Turner: Sketchbooks, Drawings and Watercolours, Tate Research Publication, April 2015, https://www.tate.org.uk/art/research-publications/jmw-turner/joseph-mallord-william-turner-rzig-and-the-hermitage-on-the-michaelslei-looking-upstream-r1174925, accessed 28 June 2022.