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

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner The Pont du Château and the Bock, Luxembourg c.1839

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
The Pont du Château and the Bock, Luxembourg c.1839
Turner Bequest CCXXI P
Gouache, pen and ink and watercolour on blue wove paper, 140 x 190 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
This drawing incorporates some of Luxembourg’s most celebrated monuments and fortifications. At left Turner pictures the two-storey Pont du Château which connects the old town with the Rocher du Bock and the citadel of Saint-Esprit, the focal point of this composition, depicted at centre. The Alzette River, meanwhile, is not itself shown but instead ‘suggested by vaporous blue haze’ which creeps up the gorge and obscures the middle reaches of the Bock. 1 Part of Luxembourg’s Grund district occupies the foreground and includes St John’s Church, with its spire so tapering it appears almost needle-sharp, and the Porte de Trèves, a medieval gateway, further towards the right.
As Cecilia Powell writes, the gouache is based on a number of pencil sketches in the Givet, Mézières, Verdun, Metz, Luxemburg and Trèves sketchbook of 1839. Most of the ‘main ingredients’ are found on folios 32 verso, 33 recto, and 60 verso (Tate D28228–D28229, D28274; Turner Bequest CCLXXXVIII 32a–33, 60a).2 Powell points out, however, that in this drawing ‘Turner’s viewpoint in the gouache is much higher than in any of these [sketches]’.3
For other of Turner’s 1839 gouaches of Luxembourg see Tate D20244–D20248, D20264, D20270, D20272–D20273, D20284–D20285, N05240; Turner Bequest CCXXI K–CCXXI O, CCXXII E, CCXXII K, CCXXII M–CCXXII N, CCXXII Y–CCXXII Z.
Powell 1991, p.178 no.124.
Inscribed in white chalk or gouache ‘18’ and in pencil ‘1a’, ‘1/4’ at centre; stamped in black with Turner Bequest monogram and ‘CCXXI P’ at bottom centre; inscribed in pencil ‘CCXXI P’ beneath, at bottom centre.

Alice Rylance-Watson
June 2013

How to cite

Alice Rylance-Watson, ‘The Pont du Château and the Bock, Luxembourg 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-pont-du-chateau-and-the-bock-luxembourg-r1150963, accessed 29 November 2021.