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

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner The Bock and the Rham, Luxembourg, above the Alzette Valley c.1839

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
The Bock and the Rham, Luxembourg, above the Alzette Valley c.1839
Turner Bequest CCXXI M
Gouache, pen and ink and watercolour on blue wove paper, 142 x 191 mm
Blind-stamped with Turner Bequest monogram bottom left
Stamped in black ‘CCXXII M’ bottom right
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Employing a similarly rich and vivid colour palette as Tate D20249; Turner Bequest CCXXI P, here Turner depicts Luxembourg with the fortified Rham plateau extending diagonally in the foreground and the Rocher du Bock, cloaked in an ethereal mist, across the centre. The Grünewald is suggested at right towards the distance.
The scene largely derives from two pencil sketches in the Givet, Mézières, Verdun, Metz, Luxemburg and Trèves sketchbook of 1839 (Tate D28268, D28270; Turner Bequest CCLXXXVIII 57a, 58a). However, as Cecilia Powell points out, ‘much has been omitted’ from the preparatory drawings and ‘much added’ to the gouache ‘from the storehouse of Turner’s imagination’. 1 Embellishments are found, for example, at bottom left, where a parade of soldiers are depicted shouldering gleaming spears and marching on a diagonal path carved into the edge of the Rham ridge.
For other of Turner’s 1839 gouaches of Luxembourg see Tate D20244–D20245, D20247–D20249, D20264, D20270, D20273, D20284–D20285, N05240; Turner Bequest CCXXI K–CCXXI L, CCXXI N–CCXXI P, CCXXII E, CCXXII K, CCXXII N, CCXXII Y–CCXXII Z.
Powell 1991, pp.178–9 no.125.
Inscribed with white chalk or gouache ‘17’ at centre; with pencil ‘17a’ at centre towards left and ‘33’ scribbled out at centre right; stamped in black with Turner Bequest monogram and ‘CCXXI M’ bottom centre and inscribed in pencil ‘CCXXI M’ centre towards bottom.

Alice Rylance-Watson
June 2013

How to cite

Alice Rylance-Watson, ‘The Bock and the Rham, Luxembourg, above the Alzette Valley c.1839 by Joseph Mallord William Turner’, catalogue entry, June 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-the-bock-and-the-rham-luxembourg-above-the-alzette-valley-r1150960, accessed 29 November 2021.