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

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner Wolf and the Gockelsberg 1824

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Folio 24 Recto:
Wolf and the Gockelsberg 1824
Turner Bequest CCXIX 24
Pencil, chalk and watercolour on white wove paper, 160 x 235 mm
Inscribed in red ink ‘24’ by Ruskin bottom right
Blind-stamped with Turner Bequest monogram bottom right
Stamped in black ‘CCXIX–24’ bottom right
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Here Turner shows the majestic Gockelsburg peak with the solitary ruins of a convent perched upon it and the tiny village of Wolf below. It is evening: the crescent moon, rendered with a single and brief curve of chalk, is afloat in the open sky.
The artist would have set eyes on this imposing site on his way towards Traben-Trarbach, and, owing to the course of the river, would have been treated to repeated views of the ruin from an ever-changing series of perspectives. The author Bartholomew Stritch remarked upon this fact in his 1845 travel guide, writing that the ruins of Wolf are:
not lost sight of for a long time, but seem almost to follow the traveller’s progress, as, after leaving them a considerable distance behind, he again finds himself near them...the river lingers and loiters so much in this part of its course, that it seems as if loth to quit a scene of such exquisite and ever varying beauty.1
For a later drawing of Wolf and the Gockelsburg, see the gouache and watercolour of 1839 (Tate D24717; Turner Bequest CCLIX 152).
Bartholomew Stritch, The Meuse, the Moselle, and the Rhine; or, A six weeks’ tour through the finest river scenery in Europe, by B.S., London 1845 p.52.

Alice Rylance-Watson
November 2013

How to cite

Alice Rylance-Watson, ‘Wolf and the Gockelsberg 1824 by Joseph Mallord William Turner’, catalogue entry, November 2013, in David Blayney Brown (ed.), J.M.W. Turner: Sketchbooks, Drawings and Watercolours, Tate Research Publication, April 2015, https://www.tate.org.uk/art/research-publications/jmw-turner/joseph-mallord-william-turner-wolf-and-the-gockelsberg-r1174927, accessed 28 June 2022.