- Museum number
Burg Sooneck with Bacharach in the distance; mountainous landscape bisected by a wide river, viewed from a little height, in the left foreground figures working in fields, below a road. 1817
Watercolour, touched with bodycolour, with some scraping-out, on white paper prepared with a grey wash
- Production date
Height: 221 millimetres
Width: 359 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- Sloan 1998
The grey wash Turner used to prepare most of the fifty-one views along the Rhine that once belonged to Fawkes lends a poetic and calm uniformity to the series. Some, like the present work and the view of 'Hirzenach' (1958,0712.415), were prepared with the grey washes on one side only; others are washed on both recto and verso, and occasionally have a rough graphite sketch on the back. The same restricted group of green, brown and grey watercolours are highlighted and deepened with yellow, blue, red, ochre and occasionally bright green bodycolours, used throughout the series, each one scraped, rubbed and thumbprinted into a work of beauty, or given detailed form with lines created by the finest point of a brush.
This view, like 'Hirzenach', emphasises the peaceful expanse of one of the wider parts of the river, its beauty captured so successfully that Turner chose it as the basis for one of the larger finished water-colours he created around 1820 for the Swinburne family (see 1958,0712.420). The larger work was more detailed and Turner even went so far as to make a colour study in preparation;¹ but the present smaller watercolour is faithful to the original sketch in the 'Waterloo and Rhine' sketchbook.² Taken from vineyards being harvested part-way up a slope, the view downstream shows a succession of castles, themselves strung on alternating high and low peaks as if on a vine. On the left, or west, bank the sunlit ruins of Burg Sooneck are followed by two smaller castles, with the sunlit town of Bacharach nestled below Burg Stahleck on a distant bend. On the opposite bank, the large town of Lorch lies in a shadow, protected by Burg Nollig high above it.
When in the autumn of 1912 Agnew's exhibited in their Manchester rooms the large group of twenty Rhine watercolours they had purchased from F. N. Fawkes that summer, they attached higher values to the present watercolour and to the views of 'Hirzenach' and the 'Johannisberg', priced at 1,100, 1,150 and 1,350 guineas respectively. Contemporary taste clearly favoured the brighter, more peaceful and serene landscapes over the darkly romantic works more highly valued in our own day, such as the 'Lurleiberg', which was then priced at 600 guineas, or the more overtly topographical ones like 'Oberlahnstein', which they had difficulty selling in the 1890s at 180 guineas and which Lloyd managed to acquire in 1922 for only £252.
l. TB CCLXIII 120; see Wilton 1982 (20) and Powell 1991 (16, 17).
2.TB CLX 62.
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
1889, RA, no.33
1903, Lawrie & Co., no. 17
1951, Agnew's, no.61
1959, 1960, BM
1966 Feb, BM, Turner Lloyd Bequest, no.12
1969 Feb, BM, Turner Lloyd Bequest, no.12
1998 May-Sept., BM, J.M.W.Turner: Lloyd Bequest, no.18
- 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