- Museum number
Bingen from the Nahe; mountainous landscape with a bridge crossing it in the mid-distance, beyond various buildings on neighbouring hills, two figures in the foreground. 1817
Watercolour and bodycolour, with scratching-out, on white paper prepared with a grey wash
Verso: View of a river at the bottom of a gorge
Graphite, on white paper prepared with a grey wash
- Production date
Height: 198 millimetres
Width: 318 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- Sloan 1998
This watercolour has always previously been titled 'Bingen from the Lorch' or 'Lake' or 'Loch', a conflation of three locations: the towns of Bingen and Lorch and a place where the Nahe river enters the Rhine and "foams and murmurs like the sea in passing through the famous lock, called the Bingerloch".¹ It is not surprising that Turner's lack of German and general British unfamiliarity with the intricacies of the place-names along the Rhine have resulted in such strange titles, which were retained because they were the ones with which the works were christened when they were in Walter Fawkes' collection.² The presence and location of the bridge and the lack of an island in the middle of the river made nonsense of the traditional titles for this work. Fortunately, Cecilia Powell has convincingly corrected all the Rhine titles, explained the exact viewpoints and locations depicted, and matched them with the corresponding drawings in Turner's sketchbooks.³ She has identified the present view as the Drusus Bridge over the Nahe river, looking eastwards down the Nahe to the town of Bingen at the river's confluence with the Rhine. Burg Ehrenfels, "on a high cliff, broken, craggy, and impending",⁴ is on the far bank of the Rhine, and Burg Klopp, largely destroyed in 1711, sprawls on the hill behind Bingen on the right.
The drawing on the prepared grey verso of this watercolour is more detailed than most and appears to be almost the same composition found in two finished views of the 'Lorelei' (W 646, Whitworth Art Gallery, and W 686, Thaw Collection). Turner scratched particularly deeply in places on this sheet to create the white highlights of the figures on the bridge, the washing on the wall and the ripples in the river; but he knew exactly what his paper could withstand and never went right through. There are indications that the finished drawing was not able to sustain all the rough treatment it received, both in the distant and the more recent past. There was much old damage to the left edge of the drawing, even loss of pigment where it was particularly bent, and the lower right corner was lost altogether. When the drawing originally came to the British Museum it was placed in a mount with a perspex verso so that the drawing on the back could be seen. However, a type of tape was used to fix the perspex which eventually seeped into the drawing itself, causing an oily mark to appear along the right and upper edges.⁵ Most of this oily residue has now been painstakingly removed.
1. C. Campbell, p. 184.
2. See Finberg 1912, pp. 23-4.
3. Powell 1991, pp. 59 (n. 59), 195ff.
4. C. Campbell, p. 183.
5. See the reproduction in Wilton 1982, pl. 21.
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
1889, Royal Academy, no.29
1902, Lawrie & Co, no.(?)47
- 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