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

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner View of Rhine downstream to Coblenz and Ehrenbreitstein, with Twin Spires of St Castor's Church, Coblenz, the Bridge of Boats and a Timber Raft c.1841-2

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
View of Rhine downstream to Coblenz and Ehrenbreitstein, with Twin Spires of St Castor’s Church, Coblenz, the Bridge of Boats and a Timber Raft c.1841–2
D27549
Turner Bequest CCLXXX 32
Watercolour on paper, 218 x 295 mm
Inscribed in pencil by Turner ‘The second [?]franco rafts & [?] the l[...?]’ along lower edge
Inscribed in pencil by Turner ‘the Curse of [?]N | before the [?]storm’ lower right
Stamped in black ‘CCLXXX-32’ bottom right
Inscribed in red ink ‘32’ bottom right
Stamped with Turner Bequest monogram lower right
Watermark ‘TMAN | Y MILL | 25’ [J. Whatman 1825]
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
This is one of thirteen loose sheets found grouped together, a number of which are believed to be ideas for compositions relating to the life of Napoleon; for more information see the Introduction to this section.
This loose colour study has been identified as a view of the Rhine, with Coblenz seen on the left and the fortress of Ehrenbreitstein on the right. The Bridge of Boats (as Turner had seen in 1817) or bridge of pontoons (which replaced it in 18191) is visible in the foreground, and details including the twin spires of St Castor’s Church have also been identified. For a list of other studies of Coblenz in this section see the entry for D27544 (Turner Bequest CCLXXX 27), which presents a similar viewpoint. It is likely that Turner was aware of various associations between these locations and Napoleon, which is also discussed within the entry for D27544.
This sheet is notable for the inscriptions Turner added in pencil, which appear to relate to the drawing’s subject matter; unfortunately, they are difficult to transcribe with any certainty. The connection with Napoleon (if indeed ‘N’ is accepted as meaning Napoleon), appears confirmed by a clear ‘– N’, while there are also possible references to ‘second Franco rafts’ and ‘the curse of’ either ‘Z’ or ‘N’, as well as words that perhaps read ‘before the storm’. The wooden structure in the foreground is suggestive of a raft.
1
Cecilia Powell, Turner in Germany, London 1995, p.12
Verso:
Blank, save for a grey thumb print in the lower left, and inscriptions: inscribed in black ink ‘Walman[?] 1828’ (possibly describing a watermark: a watermark on this sheet has been identified by the present cataloguer as an 1825 Whatman mark) upper right; inscribed in pencil ‘CCLXXX 32’ lower right.

Elizabeth Jacklin
September 2018

How to cite

Elizabeth Jacklin, ‘View of Rhine downstream to Coblenz and Ehrenbreitstein, with Twin Spires of St Castor’s Church, Coblenz, the Bridge of Boats and a Timber Raft c.1841–2 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, November 2019, https://www.tate.org.uk/art/research-publications/jmw-turner/joseph-mallord-william-turner-view-of-rhine-downstream-to-coblenz-and-ehrenbreitstein-with-r1195850, accessed 17 July 2024.