226

PROPERTY FROM A PRIVATE COLLECTION

Joseph Mallord William Turner, R.A.
BURG ELTZ, GERMANY
JUMP TO LOT
226

PROPERTY FROM A PRIVATE COLLECTION

Joseph Mallord William Turner, R.A.
BURG ELTZ, GERMANY
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Old Master & British Drawings

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London

Joseph Mallord William Turner, R.A.
LONDON 1775 - 1851
BURG ELTZ, GERMANY
Watercolour over pencil, heightened with pen and red ink and scratching out, on grey paper
160 by 232 mm
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Provenance

Elhanan Bicknell;
sale, London, Christie’s, 29 April 1863, lot 260, bt. Agnew’s;
with Agnew’s, London;
John Smith;
sale, London, Christie’s, 4 May 1870, lot 51, bt. Agnew’s;
John Edward Taylor;
his executor's sale, London, Christie’s, 5 July 1912, lot 89, bt. Gibbs;
Mrs Elmhirst;
her sale, New York, Parke Bernet, 27 May 1942, lot 185, bt. Victor Spark;
Victor Spark;
Walter Wedgwood;
with Agnew’s, London, 1979

Literature

A. Wilton, J.M.W. Turner, The Life and Work of J.M.W. Turner, Fribourg 1979, p. 460, no. 1335;
C. Powell, Turner in Germany, London, 1995, p. 183

Catalogue Note

Burg Eltz is located in a valley of the same name about four miles from the River Mosel. Perched on top of a two hundred foot high rock and with its turrets and battlements, the castle affords an air of both the magical and the impenetrable. Indeed the stronghold has never been taken by force and has been the home to the Counts of Eltz since the 12th Century.

Although Turner first travelled down the Mosel in 1824, it was not until 1840 that he was able to infiltrate the remote valley that houses Burg Eltz. On that occasion he only seems to have seen the castle from the ruins of Trutz Eltz, where a viewing platform had been specially constructed to allow visitors to admire Burg Eltz from a distance. Two watercolours from this view-point and date survive at Tate Britain.1

Turner is thought to have drawn the present watercolour when he returned to the valley for a second time in either 1841 or 1842. On this occasion he was able to get much closer to the castle and he took the opportunity to explore it thoroughly, ‘walking right round the rock on which it stands.’2 The watercolour forms part of a group of at least five sheets, where Turner worked on a distinctive grey paper and recorded what he saw before him with a subtle palate, intense scratching out and rapidly applied pen and red ink. 

Several distinguished collectors have owned this watercolour, however chief amongst these is John Edward Taylor (1830-1905). He was the son of the founder of the Manchester Guardian, who assembled a highly important art collection. In 1892 he bequeathed 154 watercolours (including twenty-four works by Turner) to the newly established Whitworth Art Gallery in Manchester. The remainder of his collection, including the present work, was dispersed, over the course of twelve days, by Christie’s in July 1912. We are grateful to Cecilia Powell and Ian Warrell for there help in cataloguing this work.

1. Tate Britain, TB CCXCII 8 & 41
2. C. Powell, Turner in Germany, London, 1995, p. 183

Old Master & British Drawings

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London