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

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner The Leuvehaven, Rotterdam, with the Dome of St Dominicus and Tower of St Lawrence 1840

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Folio 1 Verso:
The Leuvehaven, Rotterdam, with the Dome of St Dominicus and Tower of St Lawrence 1840
Turner Bequest CCCXX 1v
Pencil on white wove paper, 89 x 149 mm
Inscribed by John Ruskin in red ink ‘1’ top left, descending vertically
Stamped in black ‘CCCXX – 1’ top left, descending vertically
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
During her wider research on Dutch subjects in the Turner Bequest for the present catalogue, research intern Quirine van der Meer Mohr expanded on Finberg’s basic identification of the present subject as ‘Rotterdam’;1 with the page turned horizontally, ‘the Leuvehaven seen from the Leuvebrug’ is shown, with the churches of St Lawrence and St Dominicus.2 The bridge no longer stands, and the immediate harbour area has changed radically since the Second World War. The domed church of St Dominicus to the north was destroyed and the present Citykerk Het Steiger Sint Dominicus is on a different site nearby; the tower and substantial church of St Lawrence (the Sint Laurensenkerk) survives. Folio 2 recto opposite (D32265) shows a similar view in much more detail. Turner had recorded both churches in his 1835 Rotterdam sketchbook (Tate D32444, D32446; Turner Bequest CCCXXI 1, 2).
This sketchbook was produced for a Rotterdam firm (see folio 92 verso; D41028), but Turner did not linger to make much use of it in the city upon arrival on the Continent. His next identified use of the book was at Heidelberg, roughly 250 miles to the south-east (see folio 3 recto; D32267), having sketched in pencil and watercolour on separate sheets through Germany, on a detour along the River Mosel and then up the Rhine; see the Introduction to the tour and the subsection of drawings made on the outward route towards Venice.3
Turner had already explored Rotterdam thoroughly, in the 1817 Dort sketchbook (Tate D13012–D13013, D13019–D13023, D13026, D13028–D13031, D13139–D13141; Turner Bequest CLXII 9, 9a, 13–15, 16a, 17a–19, 75, 76, 76a), the 1825 Holland sketchbook (Tate D18907–D18916, D18921–D18922, D18926, D18928–D18932, D18950–D18951, D18954–D18957, D18961–D18964, D18971–D18974, D18976, D18978, D18981–D18997; Turner Bequest CCXIV 34a–39, 41a–42a, 44, 45a–47a, 56a–57, 58a–60, 62–63a, 67–68a, 69a, 70a, 72–80) and the Holland, Meuse and Cologne sketchbook of the same year (Tate D19483–D19485, D19487–D19488; Turner Bequest CCXV 52a–53a, 54a–55).
There is possibly a view in the 1835 Prague, Nuremberg, Frankfurt and Rhine sketchbook (Tate D30728; Turner Bequest CCCIV 51a, and many more in the Rotterdam sketchbook of that year (Tate D32444, D32446, D32448, D32450–D32451, D32453, D32455, D32457–D32458, D32460–D32462, D32464, D32466, D32468–D32470, D32473, D32480, D32483–D32498, D32503–D32506; Turner Bequest CCCXXI 1, 2, 3, 4, 4a, 5a, 6a, 7a, 8, 9–10, 11, 12, 13, 13a, 14, 15a, 19, 20a–28a, 32–33a). The Rotterdam and Rhine sketchbook, possibly of the 1840s but yet to be fully researched for the present catalogue, contains a few more views (Tate D32619, D32620, D32624, D32628, D32632; Turner Bequest CCCXXII 41a, 42, 44, 46, 48).
All of this activity had resulted in a single painting exhibited in 1833, the Rotterdam Ferry Boat (National Gallery of Art, Washington DC),4 with its offshore view informed by various 1817 Dort sketches, and an engraving of about 1836, Fish Market, Rotterdam (Tate impressions: T05149, T05150), apparently from an untraced watercolour based on a drawing in the 1835 Rotterdam sketchbook; see Alice Rylance-Watson’s entry for Tate D32453 (Turner Bequest CCCXXI 5a).
This is the verso of the first leaf, albeit numbered, stamped and listed as ‘Page 1’ in Finberg’s 1909 Inventory,5 which usually indicates versos with an ‘a’ suffix. Turner’s inscription on the recto (D32263), is not mentioned by Finberg; it has been designated by Tate as Turner Bequest CCCXX 1, necessitating a ‘v’ suffix for the present page (a letter usually reserved for addenda to the Inventory).
Finberg 1909, II, p.1029.
Email to the author, 24 January 2014.
See also Powell 1995, pp.65, 81 note 6.
Martin Butlin and Evelyn Joll, The Paintings of J.M.W. Turner, revised ed., New Haven and London 1984, pp.199–200 no.348, pl.351 (colour).
Finberg 1909, II, p.1029.
Technical notes:
The white wove paper is laminated with that used for the endpapers (D32263, D41025).

Matthew Imms
September 2018

How to cite

Matthew Imms, ‘The Leuvehaven, Rotterdam, with the Dome of St Dominicus and Tower of St Lawrence 1840 by Joseph Mallord William Turner’, catalogue entry, September 2018, in David Blayney Brown (ed.), J.M.W. Turner: Sketchbooks, Drawings and Watercolours, Tate Research Publication, December 2019, https://www.tate.org.uk/art/research-publications/jmw-turner/joseph-mallord-william-turner-the-leuvehaven-rotterdam-with-the-dome-of-st-dominicus-and-r1196499, accessed 07 August 2022.