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Creator:
Joseph Mallord William Turner, 1775–1851, British
Title:

Andernach

Date:
1817
Medium:
Watercolor, gouache, pen and black ink and scratching out on medium, slightly textured, cream wove paper
Dimensions:
Sheet: 7 7/8 x 12 5/8 inches (20 x 32.1 cm)
Credit Line:
Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection
Copyright Status:
Public Domain
Accession Number:
B1977.14.4287
Classification:
Drawings & Watercolors
Collection:
Prints and Drawings
Subject Terms:
architectural subject | cityscape | clouds | landscape | mountains | ruins | trees | walls
Associated Places:
Andernach | Europe | Germany | Koblenz | Rheinland-Pfalz
Access:
View by request in the Study Room [Request]
Note: The Study Room is open by appointment. Please visit the Study Room page on our website for more details.
Link:
https://collections.britishart.yale.edu/catalog/tms:5484
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In 1817 Turner left England for his first tour of the Continent since 1802. It was a trip that would set the pattern for the rest of his career. Andernach belongs to a set of fifty watercolors worked up from the pencil sketches made along the Rhine in Germany. According to legend, Turner arrived at Farnley Hall to see his friend and patron Walter Fawkes on his return home in the fall of 1817. "Before he had even taken off his great-coat he produced these drawings rolled up slovenly and, anyhow, from his breast pocket." Walter Fawkes was suitably impressed and purchased the entire set of Rhine drawings on the spot for £500, a handsome reward for a couple of months' touring.

Gallery label for Great British Watercolors from the Paul Mellon Collection at the Yale Center for British Art (Yale Center for British Art, 2008-06-09 - 2008-08-17)
Walter Fawkes remained a loyal friend and patron to Turner. In 1817 Turner left England for his first tour ofthe Continent since 1802 and the first ever entirely alone. It was a trip that would set the pattern for the rest of his career. Like all Turner's touring, he chose a conventional destination: the Rhine, with a detour to see the battlefield of Waterloo. Both Waterloo and the Rhine were highly topical locations, not least because Byron had described both in Canto III of his sensational Childe Harold's Pilgrimage. Turner purchased a copy of Charles Campbell's Traveller's Complete Guide through Belgium, Holland, and Germany (1815) before setting out, as well as three sketchbooks of varying sizes in which to make his studies. Andernach belongs to a set of fifty watercolors worked up from the pencil sketches made en route through Germany. According to legend, Turner arrived at Farnley Hall to see Fawkes on his return in the fall of 1817: "Before he had even taken off his great-coat he produced these drawings rolled up slovenly and, anyhow, from his breast pocket." This carefully staged piece of theatrics reinforced Turner's frequent dramatization of painting, in this case rapidly producing masterful works with apparent carelessness. From 1798 on he had been retouching his exhibits at the Roval Academy during varnishing days, prior to the public opening, and dazzling his fellow exhibitors with his ability to transform his works with a few strokes of the brush. When Fawkes's son watched him make a rapid watercolor in 1818, he described the image appearing "as if by magic" from the chaotic scratches and marks that Turner made on the paper. Walter Fawkes was suitably impressed and purchased the entire set of Rhine drawings on the spot for £500, a handsome reward for a couple of months touring. The set stayed in the Fawkes family collection until 1890, when it was broken up and the drawings scattered. From reading the Campbell guidebook, Turner knew that at Andernach, "the streets are narrow, badly paved and irregular, and the houses of all descriptions. Andernach is, however, particularly interesting to the lover of antiquities." Indeed, in this view, Turner captured the town in a way similar to that described by Campbell when he talked of the "somber gates, the towers and pinnacles of Andernach." Andernach and the other works in the set, however, were unlikely to have been worked on the spot in Germany. Turner spent the interval between arriving back in England and reaching Farley working on a commission at Raby Castle in County Durham. It is likely that he worked on the watercolors from the sketchbooks then, using the kinds of techniques that Fawkes's son wondered at. The papers themselves were made from cutting up larger sheets into appropriate sizes, sizes which hint at the on-the-spot sketch. Each was tinted in gray before Turner began work, reversing the light to dark method of watercolor and working instead from dark to light in the manner of oil painting. The copious amount of gouache in the series was the necessary result of starting from such a dark ground. Working from dark to light is also the method of engraving, and a set of views of Rhineland scenery would have been a commercially viable proposition in the aftermath of Waterloo. Turner was negotiating with W. B. Cooke on a thirty-six-plate publication of Rhine views in early 1819 to be made from a separate series of Rhine drawings. This scheme foundered when Rudolph Ackermann released an illustrated English edition of Baron Johann von Gerning's Picturesque Tour along the Rhine in six parts between 1819 and 1820. Although Turner and Cooke abandoned their scheme, there was compensation for Turner from his patron, Fawkes. In May and June of 1819, Fawkes exhibited his collection of English watercolors to the public at his London home at Grosvenor Place. More than sixty works by Turner were shown alongside other artists such as "Warwick" Smith. The show presented Turner as the leading watercolorist of the age at a time when his watercolors were otherwise hidden from public view. He could depart for a tour of Italy in July 1819, satisfied that he had eclipsed the artists he had first studied as a teenager and established himself as the preeminent figure in the current generation of watercolorists.

Matthew Hargraves

Hargraves, Matthew, and Scott Wilcox. Great British Watercolors: from the Paul Mellon collection. New Haven: Yale Center for British Art, 2008, pp.106-109 , no. 46

Great British Watercolors from the Paul Mellon Collection at the Yale Center for British Art (Yale Center for British Art, 2008-06-09 - 2008-08-17) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

Great British Watercolors from the Paul Mellon Collection at the Yale Center for British Art (The State Hermitage Museum, 2007-10-23 - 2008-01-13) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

Great British Watercolors from the Paul Mellon Collection at the Yale Center for British Art (Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, 2007-07-11 - 2007-09-30) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

J.M.W. Turner (Kunsthaus Zurich, 2002-02-26 - 2002-05-26) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

J.M.W. Turner (Museum Folkwang, 2001-09-14 - 2002-01-06) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

Translations - Turner and Printmaking (Yale Center for British Art, 1993-09-29 - 1993-12-05) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

JMW Turner, Cologne and the Rhine (Wallraff-Richartz-Museum, 1980-10-09 - 1980-11-30) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

Joseph Mallord William Turner, J. M. William Turner : Koln und der Rhein : Aquarelle, Zeichnungen, Skizzenbucher, Stiche, Wallraf-Richartz-Museum, 11. October bis 30. November 1980, Auf Deutsch, Cologne, 1980, p. 49, no. 8, NJ18 .T85 B67 +Oversize (YCBA) [YCBA]

William Turner : licht und farbe : eine Ausstellung in Zusammenarbeit mit Tate, SMB-DuMont, Cologne, 2001, pp. 121, 299, no. 50, NJ18 T85 W57515 [ORBIS]

Andrew Wilton, The life and work of J.M.W. Turner, Academy Editions, London, 1979, p. 376, No. 662, NJ18 T85 +W577 OVERSIZE (YCBA) [YCBA]

Yale Center for British Art, Great British watercolors : from the Paul Mellon Collection, Yale University Press, New Haven, 2007, pp. 108-109, no. 46, ND1928 .Y35 2007 (LC)+ Oversize (YCBA) [YCBA]


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