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

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner The Citadel, Church and Bridge at Huy, Looking Upstream 1824

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Folio 3 Recto:
The Citadel, Church and Bridge at Huy, Looking Upstream 1824
Turner Bequest CCXVII 3
Pencil on off-white wove paper, 99 x 162 mm
Watermark ‘[...]lls | 1[...]’
Inscribed in blue ink by Ruskin ‘3’ top right and ‘247’ bottom right
Stamped in black ‘CCXVII–3’ bottom right
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
This highly wrought drawing shows a wide-angled view of Huy, extending onto the folio opposite (Tate D20087; Turner Bequest CCXVII 2 a). Drawing from the Quai des Recollets, Turner records the ancient stone bridge which traverses the Meuse and a further single-arched bridge, the Pont St Nicholas, to the far left of it. The majestic Church of Notre-Dame follows, its lofty towers leading the eye to Huy’s citadel, a great bulk of a building remodelled by the Dutch during their occupation of Huy in 1818.1 Given its commanding position, Bartholomew Stritch writes that the fortress was historically a ‘great object of contention’ and ‘was taken and retaken, numberless times during the civil wars that so long devastated the country’.2 Its nineteenth-century reparations and augmentations, however, put the citadel ‘in the most formidable state of defence’: a ‘great portion of the works have been hewn out of the solid rock, and towering walls of massive masonry superadded to the precipices upon which it stands to render it impregnable’.3 In contrast to the stolid rectilinear mass of the citadel is the Church of Notre-Dame below, a fourteenth-century Flamboyant Gothic building constructed on Romanesque foundations. Turner delicately reproduces the tiers of pointed arches and lancet windows, making further studies of the church’s apse and Bethlehem portal in the Rivers Meuse and Moselle sketchbook (Tate D19631; Turner Bequest CCXVI 41).
For a similar but later view, see the Spa, Dinant and Namur sketchbook of 1839 (Tate D28132, D28140; Turner Bequest CCLXXXVII 48, 52).
Powell 1991, p.123 no.38.
Bartholomew Stritch, The Meuse, the Moselle, and the Rhine; or, A six weeks' tour through the finest river scenery in Europe, by B.S., London 1845, p.24.
Ibid., pp.24–5.
Technical notes:
The paper has mottled and browned significantly, a result of the drawing’s prolonged exhibition and exposure to sunlight during the nineteenth century.

Alice Rylance-Watson
January 2014

How to cite

Alice Rylance-Watson, ‘The Citadel, Church and Bridge at Huy, Looking Upstream 1824 by Joseph Mallord William Turner’, catalogue entry, January 2014, 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-the-citadel-church-and-bridge-at-huy-looking-upstream-r1174283, accessed 19 August 2022.