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

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner The Godesburg, from the Rhine, Looking Downstream 1839

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Folio 42 Recto:
The Godesburg, from the Rhine, Looking Downstream 1839
Turner Bequest CCXCI 42
Pencil on cream laid writing paper, 100 x 156 mm
Watermarked French imperial eagle
Inscribed in red ink by Ruskin ‘42’ bottom right
Stamped in black ‘CCXCI–42’ bottom right
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Beyond an array of river barges and sailing boats, the ‘donjon of Godesburg’ is seen in the distance here, crowning a conical mount.1 John Murray writes that the castle’s keep was constructed ‘by the warlike Archbishops of Cologne, in 1212, on the site of a Roman fort, and served them long as a stronghold, till the Bavarians took it and blew it up’ in the late sixteenth century.2 ‘The cylindrical Donjon tower, 100 ft. (30 metres) high, built 1340, commands a beautiful prospect over the Rhine’, and indeed makes for an impressive prospect when seen from a distance, as in this slight pencil sketch.3 See also Tate D28625; Turner Bequest CCXCI 45a, Tate D34369; Turner Bequest CCCXLIV 26, and an earlier drawing from 1817 in the Waterloo and Rhine sketchbook (Tate D12755; Turner Bequest CLX 29).

Alice Rylance-Watson
August 2013

John Murray, A Hand-book for Travellers on the Continent: Being a Guide Through Holland, Belgium, Prussia, and Northern Germany, and Along the Rhine, from Holland to Switzerland, London 1838, p.262.

How to cite

Alice Rylance-Watson, ‘The Godesburg, from the Rhine, Looking Downstream 1839 by Joseph Mallord William Turner’, catalogue entry, August 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-godesburg-from-the-rhine-looking-downstream-r1150902, accessed 18 April 2021.