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

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner Trarbach from the Grevenburg c.1839

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Trarbach from the Grevenburg c.1839
Turner Bequest CCXXI Z
Gouache and watercolour on blue wove paper, 139 x 190 mm
Blind-stamped with Turner Bequest monogram bottom left
Stamped in black ‘CCXXI Z’ bottom right
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
This drawing depicts Trarbach from the Grevenburg, a castle situated, as Michael Joseph Quin writes, ‘high in the heavens, upon an abrupt ridge of rocks’.1 The towers, which point vertically towards the expansive sky, belong to the Trarbach’s network of fortified walls: ‘there are three gates’, writes Quin, ‘in good preservation, surmounted by towers, which add much to the chivalrous aspect of the place’.2
As Cecilia Powell notes, the work shares a similar colour palette to Tate D20240; Turner Bequest CCXXII G, but ‘is executed in a far denser way with gouache predominating throughout’.3 The pale apricot, dusty rose and orange pigments used to render the town are almost milky in their opacity, creating a bold tonal contrast between Trarbach and the distant mountain peaks of blue and mauve wash.
The artist recorded this prospect in the fourth of the five 1839 sketchbooks, on Tate D28400; Turner Bequest CCXC 25a. This view is taken from the opposite angle to three other Trarbach gouaches: see Tate D20240, D20259, D20275; Turner Bequest CCXXI G, Z, CCXXII P.
Michael Joseph Quin, Steam voyages on the Seine, the Moselle, & the Rhine: with railroad visits to the principal cities of Belgium, London 1843, p.14.
Powell 1991, p.138 no.59.
Inscribed in pencil ‘101’ at centre and ’24?l’ centre right.

Alice Rylance-Watson
September 2013

How to cite

Alice Rylance-Watson, ‘Trarbach from the Grevenburg c.1839 by Joseph Mallord William Turner’, catalogue entry, September 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-trarbach-from-the-grevenburg-r1150966, accessed 29 November 2021.