- Museum number
Oberlahnstein; fortified building in mountainous landscape, in the foreground a well at which three women draw water, another fortified building on a cliff edge at left. 1817
Watercolour, touched with bodycolour, on white paper prepared with a grey wash
- Production date
Height: 198 millimetres
Width: 316 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- Sloan 1998
Schloss Stolzenfels, on its perch opposite the mouth of the River Lahn, featured in the distance of 1958,0712.412 but is here seen dominating the view from the well of Oberlahnstein. This town, on the southern bank of the Lahn at its confluence with the Rhine, was a substantial one, which Turner's guidebook by Charles Campbell informed him was mentioned by Ausonius in his poem on the Moselle. The book also noted the town's "fine gardens" with "beautiful prospects from its windows and terraces", and continued: "The Rhine here is very broad, and on the left bank we have a prospect of some rural dwellings, called Krippe; and not far from the village, of Kapellen, is the dismantled castel of Stolzenfels, built upon a mountain.'' ¹ Krippe is just visible on the far shore in Turner's view; and although his guidebook did not inform him of it, the castle had in fact been dismantled by the French in 1689 and was not rebuilt until after Turner's visit, by Friedrich Wilhelm TV between 1836 and 1842. Campbell did not pay much attention to the architecture of these buildings, merely pointing out particularly picturesque ones and noting any references to classical authors or more recent poets such as Byron. He did not, for example, describe the substantial Martinsburg which dominates Turner's view of the town; but a later guidebook explained that it was the old castle, belonging to Nassau, and had become the residence of the bailiff.² Its terrace and windows commanded a fine view and there was a mineral spring in the vicinity. It is the well of this spring that forms the focus of Turner's watercolour.
Turner started to inscribe "Children playing at a Well w[. . .]" on his sketch for this view.³ In his final version, however, he concentrated on the mineral properties of the well, focusing on a group of women filling stone bottles with its water, which they will carry away in a type of panier-wheelbarrow. It is a warm sunny day; a figure approaches along the shaded roadway on the right, while the sun lights on the women's dresses, the well, and the walls of the castle behind, and falls on the arm of the cross in the left foreground. Turner created these highlights by scraping away the preparatory grey wash to reveal the white paper underneath, or sometimes by wetting and rubbing the paper to lighten the grey. The patch of sky above the Schloss Stolzenfels has been left to show the grey wash with which the paper was prepared and clearly indicates the medium tone the artist was working up with brighter washes of blue and green and highlighting with bodycolours of gold, amber, red, brown and blue. A close examination reveals all the tricks Turner used to work his magic on a plain sheet of washed grey paper, and his thumbprint is clearly visible working light and shade into the trees on the right.
1. C. Campbell, p. 192.
2. Schreiber, p. 222.
3. Waterloo and Rhine sketchbook, TB CLX 93, now inserted between 57 and 58; see Powell 1991, p. 197.
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
1889, RA, no.55
1959, 1960, BM
1966 Feb, BM, Turner Lloyd Bequest, no.10
1969 Feb, BM, Turner Lloyd Bequest, no.10
1998 May-Sept., BM, J.M.W.Turner: Lloyd Bequest, no.14
- Previous owner
Previous owner/ex-collection: Walter Fawkes
Previous owner/ex-collection: Rev Ayscough Fawkes (by descent to Rev. Ayscough Fawkes, his sale Christie's 27.vi.1890/20, bt Agnew's, £147 (stock 9866))
Previous owner/ex-collection: Thomas Agnew & Sons (Agnew's 1891 (263), 250 gns; 1892 (155), 200 gns; Agnew's Liverpool 1893 (199), 200 gns; Agnew's 1894 (293), 180 gns; bt Walter F. Morice 20 February 1897, £150)
Previous owner/ex-collection: W F Morice (His sale Christie's 12.v.1922/61, bt Agnew's for Lloyd, £252 plus 5% commission £12 12s. (stock 155))
- Acquisition date
- Acquisition notes
- UNDER THE TERMS OF THE BEQUEST, NONE OF THE PRINTS OR DRAWINGS BEQUEATHED BY R. W. LLOYD MAY BE LENT OUTSIDE THE BRITISH MUSEUM (Registration Numbers 1958,0712.318 to 3149).
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number