Sublime Sites

Explorations in the footsteps of Turner, Cotman and Ruskin with Professor David Hill

In Turner’s Footsteps at Heidelberg: Part 4

This post continues the essay begun on 19 October 2015 and continued on 18 November 2015, and 20 November 2015. In part #1, I followed in the footsteps of Turner’s comprehensive exploration of Heidelberg in 1833. In part #2, I looked at a major finished watercolour that he developed in the early 1840s, and a return visit to Heidelberg at the same time. In part #3 I looked at the deepening sublimity of his treatment of the site in three colour studies and a second major watercolour of c.1842. Here I retrace his last visit to Heidelberg in 1844 when he made some new pencil sketches and a wonderful series of colour studies. We know the exact dates of this visit, 24-27 August, so that was my cue for following in Turner’s footsteps on exactly the same dates in 2015.

Heidelberg Castle and Town from the Garden Terrace: Sunset Photograph by David Hill, 26 August 2015, 17.22 GMT

Heidelberg Castle and Town from the Garden Terrace: Sunset
Photograph by David Hill, 26 August 2015, 17.22 GMT

The occasion of Turner’s 1844 visit to Heidelberg was an extremely wet summer. He spent a few weeks in the Alps around Lucerne and Grindelwald, but was prevented by the weather from crossing any of the high passes south. Eventually, as he said, he gave up, headed back north to the Rhine, got his boots heeled and soled, and spent a few weeks exploring the side valleys, of the Rhine, particularly the Nahe and the Neckar, and much to his delight. Apart from the dates of his stay in Heidelberg, we also know he stayed at the Prinz Carl in the Cornmarket, and a few sketches of the Karlstor, in the On the Neckar sketchbook (Tate, Turner Bequest TB CCCII) , stand at the outset of a walking tour up to Heilbronn and back and the sketchbook is full of animated pencil sketches of Neckar Castles. By this time Turner was also in the habit recording his tours in long series of colour sketches. That of 1844 is no exception and the pencil sketches of the Neckar are accompanied by numerous watercolour studies. It would be wonderful to explore those in Turner’s footsteps but in August I had time only to focus on Heidelberg, and to treat the Neckar in the detail it deserves would be an undertaking of book length.

He was prolific enough in his few days in Heidelberg. His main sequence of pencil sketches is in the CCXCVII Spires & Heidelberg sketchbook. This begins with one fine and composed sketch at Lucerne, but the main sequence consists of very scrappy and mostly unidentified buildings amongst mountains and lakes, presumably in Switzerland. The scrappiness speaks very much of not being unsettled by the weather, and he left several blank pages, which he filled once he retreated north to Heidelberg (and Speyer, which is on the Rhine south of Heidelberg). There is a clutch of sketches of Heidelberg castle from the east and north terrace in the middle of the book, interleaved with drawings of Lucerne. It has to be said that even at Heidelberg Turner’s sketches are rapid and impressionistic, and not at all considered or relaxed. Their style very strongly suggests that he now felt that sketching in pencil was not the primary product of his touring. It was the antenna through which he could derive his sense of a site, but the important work of assimilation was now being invested in colour studies.

His Spires and Heidelberg sketches are exclusively confined to the castle and mostly to the gardens to the east, or the north terrace. His principal interest appears to have been in finding some way of representing the castle by sunset. One sketch (13) from the garden terrace actually shows the sun in the sky, and another from the north terrace (18a) is inscribed ‘the last gleam of sun’.

Heidelberg Castle: Google Earth Aerial View Marking the sites of Turner’s 1844 sketches in the ‘Spires and Heidelberg’ sketchbook. Those reproduced here are highlighted. This image is best viewed at full size. Click on image to enlarge and then use your browser’s ‘back’ button to return to this page.

Heidelberg Castle: Google Earth Aerial View
Marking the sites of Turner’s 1844 sketches in the ‘Spires and Heidelberg’ sketchbook. Those reproduced here are highlighted.
This image is best viewed at full size. Click on image to enlarge and then use your browser’s ‘back’ button to return to this page.

J M W Turner Heidelberg Castle and Town from the end of the Garden Terrace: Sunset, 1844 Graphite on paper, page size 109 x 170 mm Detail from the Spires and Heidelberg sketchbook, Tate, London, D29796; Turner Bequest CCXCVII 13 as ‘Heidelberg from the East’ The main objective of Turner’s 1844 pencil sketches at Heidelberg seems to have been to work out a composition of the sun setting from the terrace. This is a very quick memorandum of the northern end of the terrace, from a quite precarious position just beyond it. His idea seems to have been to find a viewpoint that enabled him to take in the celebrants as well as the setting. Photo courtesy of Tate To view this image in Tate’s own catalogue of the Turner bequest, click on the following link, and use your browser’s ‘back’ button to return to this page. http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/turner-heidelberg-from-the-east-d29796

J M W Turner
Heidelberg Castle and Town from the end of the Garden Terrace: Sunset, 1844
Graphite on paper, page size 109 x 170 mm
Detail from the Spires and Heidelberg sketchbook, Tate, London, D29796; Turner Bequest CCXCVII 13 as ‘Heidelberg from the East’
The main objective of Turner’s 1844 pencil sketches at Heidelberg seems to have been to work out a composition of the sun setting from the terrace. This is a very quick memorandum of the northern end of the terrace, from a quite precarious position just beyond it. His idea seems to have been to find a viewpoint that enabled him to take in the celebrants as well as the setting.
Photo courtesy of Tate
To view this image in Tate’s own catalogue of the Turner bequest, click on the following link, and use your browser’s ‘back’ button to return to this page.
http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/turner-heidelberg-from-the-east-d29796

J M W Turner Heidelberg Castle and Town from above the end of the Garden Terrace, 1844 Graphite on paper, page size 109 x 170 mm From the Spires and Heidelberg sketchbook, Tate, London, D29799; Turner Bequest CCXCVII 14a as ‘Heidelberg: The Castle and Town from the East’ This is a slightly more relaxed study of the end of the garden terrace with its sundown celebrants. The exact view is no longer photographable because of the growth of trees. Photo courtesy of Tate To view this image in Tate’s own catalogue of the Turner bequest, click on the following link, and use your browser’s ‘back’ button to return to this page. http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/turner-heidelberg-the-castle-and-town-from-the-east-d29799

J M W Turner
Heidelberg Castle and Town from above the end of the Garden Terrace, 1844
Graphite on paper, page size 109 x 170 mm
From the Spires and Heidelberg sketchbook, Tate, London, D29799; Turner Bequest CCXCVII 14a as ‘Heidelberg: The Castle and Town from the East’
This is a slightly more relaxed study of the end of the garden terrace with its sundown celebrants. The exact view is no longer photographable because of the growth of trees.
Photo courtesy of Tate
To view this image in Tate’s own catalogue of the Turner bequest, click on the following link, and use your browser’s ‘back’ button to return to this page.
http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/turner-heidelberg-the-castle-and-town-from-the-east-d29799

Heidelberg: Sundowners on the Garden Terrace Photograph by David Hill taken 26 August 2015, 17.45 GMT

Heidelberg: Sundowners on the Garden Terrace
Photograph by David Hill taken 26 August 2015, 17.45 GMT

J M W Turner Heidelberg Castle: on the North Terrace, looking east, 1844 Graphite on paper, page size 109 x 170 mm From the Spires and Heidelberg sketchbook, Tate, London, D29805; Turner Bequest CCXCVII 18 as ‘Heidelberg Castle: The Bell Tower, Friedrich Building and Altan, and View Eastwards to the Terrace’. Here Turner appears to be leaning out of the little turret at the west end of the Altan, to look back at the garden terrace past the Octagonal Tower. Photo courtesy of Tate To view this image in Tate’s own catalogue of the Turner bequest, click on the following link, and use your browser’s ‘back’ button to return to this page. http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/turner-heidelberg-castle-the-bell-tower-friedrich-building-and-altan-and-view-eastwards-to-d29805

J M W Turner
Heidelberg Castle: on the North Terrace, looking east, 1844
Graphite on paper, page size 109 x 170 mm
From the Spires and Heidelberg sketchbook, Tate, London, D29805; Turner Bequest CCXCVII 18 as ‘Heidelberg Castle: The Bell Tower, Friedrich Building and Altan, and View Eastwards to the Terrace’.
Here Turner appears to be leaning out of the little turret at the west end of the Altan, to look back at the garden terrace past the Octagonal Tower.
Photo courtesy of Tate
To view this image in Tate’s own catalogue of the Turner bequest, click on the following link, and use your browser’s ‘back’ button to return to this page.
http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/turner-heidelberg-castle-the-bell-tower-friedrich-building-and-altan-and-view-eastwards-to-d29805

The North Terrace of Heidelberg Castle, looking east Photograph by David Hill taken 26 August 2015, 11.20, GMT.

The North Terrace of Heidelberg Castle, looking east
Photograph by David Hill taken 26 August 2015, 11.20, GMT/>

The North Terrace of Heidelberg Castle, looking west Photograph by David Hill taken 26 August 2015, 11.32 GMT

The North Terrace of Heidelberg Castle, looking west
Photograph by David Hill taken 26 August 2015, 11.32 GMT />

J M W Turner Heidelberg Castle: on the North Terrace, looking west at sunset, 1844 Graphite on paper, page size 109 x 170 mm From the Spires and Heidelberg sketchbook, Tate, London, D29806; Turner Bequest CCXCVII 18a as ‘Heidelberg Castle: The Friedrich Building and Altan, and View Westwards down the Neckar Photo courtesy of Tate Here Turner is leaning out of the eastern turret looking west, noting ‘the last gleam of the sun’. To view this image in Tate’s own catalogue of the Turner bequest, click on the following link, and use your browser’s ‘back’ button to return to this page. http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/turner-heidelberg-castle-the-friedrich-building-and-altan-and-view-westwards-down-the-d29806

J M W Turner
Heidelberg Castle: on the North Terrace, looking west at sunset, 1844
Graphite on paper, page size 109 x 170 mm
From the Spires and Heidelberg sketchbook, Tate, London, D29806; Turner Bequest CCXCVII 18a as ‘Heidelberg Castle: The Friedrich Building and Altan, and View Westwards down the Neckar
Photo courtesy of Tate
Here Turner is leaning out of the eastern turret looking west, noting ‘the last gleam of the sun’.
To view this image in Tate’s own catalogue of the Turner bequest, click on the following link, and use your browser’s ‘back’ button to return to this page.
http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/turner-heidelberg-castle-the-friedrich-building-and-altan-and-view-westwards-down-the-d29806

Heidelberg sunset: Last gleam Photograph by David Hill, taken 26 August 2015, 18.24 GMT

Heidelberg sunset: Last gleam
Photograph by David Hill, taken 26 August 2015, 18.24 GMT

The major product of Turner’s 1844 stay in Heidelberg was a series of nine colour studies. These originally belonged to a ‘roll’ sketchbook (i.e. one with paper covers that could be rolled up for carrying). Turner used such sketchbooks a great deal in his later career, principally for colour studies. This particular sketchbook is called the ‘Heidelberg’ sketchbook, and was still intact after Turner’s death when it came to the nation as part of the Turner Bequest. Ruskin noted that it was a sketchbook of 24 coloured sketches, including ten of Heidelberg. Sometime afterwards Ruskin mounted many of the best pages for exhibition, but somewhere in that process the original pagination of the book was lost. There are still ten sketches of Heidelberg if we count one that is in pencil on the back of one of the coloured sketches. The book was also used for colour sketches of subjects on the river Neckar, made on a pedestrian tour up to Heilbronn, and also for sketches on the river Nahe, which Turner explored later on the same tour.

The sketches are somewhat variable in style and degrees of elaboration, but all record very specific phenomena, particularly effects of morning and evening. Some are pale and delicate, others warm and glowing. They all, however have a remarkable degree of evanescence. As befits, perhaps a season of rain, they are studies principally of the light and atmosphere through which their subjects are seen.

The first is a rare street scene in the town itself, looking to the castle from the Hauptstrasse from outside the Hotel Ritter (12). Another returns to the subject of the bridge, castle and church, but this time from a new viewpoint going up to the Philosophenweg (17). Three study the castle by sunset, one from the garden terrace (9) and two others from a higher viewpoint, looking over the castle from the south-west (8, 15). Finally four sketches return to viewpoints looking to the castle and town from the riverbanks upstream of the bridge (11, 18, 5, 13). In the first he rose early to see whether the dawn might produce some effect, but towards the end of August the sun is already quite high before it illuminates the castle. The best effects were at sunset and he made three studies at intervals approaching the castle from upstream.

The Hauptstrasse, Heiidelberg Photograph by David Hill, taken 26 August 2015, 15.27, GMT

The Hauptstrasse, Heiidelberg
Photograph by David Hill, taken 26 August 2015, 15.27, GMT

J M W Turner View along the Hauptstrasse, Heidelberg, 1844 Graphite and watercolour on paper, 229 x 329 mm From the Heidelberg sketchbook, Tate, London, D35232; Turner Bequest CCCLII 12 as ‘View along the Hauptstrasse, Heidelberg’ This is an unusual subject for Turner, recording a street scene in the town, rather than a major prospect. Here we are looking along the main street with the walls of the Heiliggeistkirche on the left, the castle seen over the rooftops in the centre, and the buildings on the south side of the Hauptstrasse culminating in the elaborate Renaissance façade of the Hotel Ritter to the right. As is often the case at this stage in his career Turner has synthesised a few viewpoints in this sketch. It is impossible to see the castle as clearly as this except from further down the street, and the angles on the Hotel Ritter and the church are incompatible without shifting position at least once. My photograph is likewise stitched together from three separate images. We can, however, be sure that Turner did made this sketch from the motif. Modern scholars trend towards Turner making his colour studies in his hotel or in the studio after the event, from pencil sketches or from memory. There is no comparable pencil sketch of this, and the phenomenal aspects of the subject, of late afternoon light flooding weakly into a street still cool and wet from rain is vividly given.  Photo courtesy of Tate To view this image in Tate’s own catalogue of the Turner bequest, click on the following link, and use your browser’s ‘back’ button to return to this page. http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/turner-view-along-the-hauptstrasse-heidelberg-d35232

J M W Turner
View along the Hauptstrasse, Heidelberg, 1844
Graphite and watercolour on paper, 229 x 329 mm
From the Heidelberg sketchbook, Tate, London, D35232; Turner Bequest CCCLII 12 as ‘View along the Hauptstrasse, Heidelberg’
This is an unusual subject for Turner, recording a street scene in the town, rather than a major prospect. Here we are looking along the main street with the walls of the Heiliggeistkirche on the left, the castle seen over the rooftops in the centre, and the buildings on the south side of the Hauptstrasse culminating in the elaborate Renaissance façade of the Hotel Ritter to the right. As is often the case at this stage in his career Turner has synthesised a few viewpoints in this sketch. It is impossible to see the castle as clearly as this except from further down the street, and the angles on the Hotel Ritter and the church are incompatible without shifting position at least once. My photograph is likewise stitched together from three separate images. We can, however, be sure that Turner did made this sketch from the motif. Modern scholars trend towards Turner making his colour studies in his hotel or in the studio after the event, from pencil sketches or from memory. There is no comparable pencil sketch of this, and the phenomenal aspects of the subject, of late afternoon light flooding weakly into a street still cool and wet from rain is vividly given.
Photo courtesy of Tate
To view this image in Tate’s own catalogue of the Turner bequest, click on the following link, and use your browser’s ‘back’ button to return to this page.
http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/turner-view-along-the-hauptstrasse-heidelberg-d35232

Heidelberg: Hotel Ritter Photograph by David Hill taken 27 August 2015, 14.21 GMT. The Hotel Ritter is one of the view Renaissance buildings to have survived unscathed at Heidelberg. The fact that Turner gave it some prominence seems to suggest some attachment to it, and perhaps he had stayed there on a previous visit, thou we know that in 1844 he was staying at the Prinz Carl further down the High Street.

Heidelberg: Hotel Ritter
Photograph by David Hill taken 27 August 2015, 14.21 GMT.
The Hotel Ritter is one of the view Renaissance buildings to have survived unscathed at Heidelberg. The fact that Turner gave it some prominence seems to suggest some attachment to it, and perhaps he had stayed there on a previous visit, thou we know that in 1844 he was staying at the Prinz Carl further down the High Street.

J M W Turner Heidelberg from the Schlangenweg, 1844 Graphite and watercolour on paper, 229 x 329 mm From the Heidelberg sketchbook, Tate, London, D35237; Turner Bequest CCCLII 17 as ‘Heidelberg from the Schlangenweg’ This is the only occasion on which Turner climbed up the Schlangenweg, the zig-zag path that leads up from the old bridge at Heidelberg to the famous high-level walk, the Philosophenweg. Like the sketch of the Hauptstrasse above this study has no pencil equivalent and must have been painted direct from nature. It is remarkably faintly coloured, as is the details of the town were barely visible, contra-jour in a brilliantly suffused mist. Such conditions might frequently met with in a wet summer, with the damp atmosphere reflecting and refracting the sunlight.  Photo courtesy of Tate To view this image in Tate’s own catalogue of the Turner bequest, click on the following link, and use your browser’s ‘back’ button to return to this page. http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/turner-heidelberg-from-the-schlangenweg-d35237

J M W Turner
Heidelberg from the Schlangenweg, 1844
Graphite and watercolour on paper, 229 x 329 mm
From the Heidelberg sketchbook, Tate, London, D35237; Turner Bequest CCCLII 17 as ‘Heidelberg from the Schlangenweg’
This is the only occasion on which Turner climbed up the Schlangenweg, the zig-zag path that leads up from the old bridge at Heidelberg to the famous high-level walk, the Philosophenweg. Like the sketch of the Hauptstrasse above this study has no pencil equivalent and must have been painted direct from nature. It is remarkably faintly coloured, as is the details of the town were barely visible, contra-jour in a brilliantly suffused mist. Such conditions might frequently met with in a wet summer, with the damp atmosphere reflecting and refracting the sunlight.
Photo courtesy of Tate
To view this image in Tate’s own catalogue of the Turner bequest, click on the following link, and use your browser’s ‘back’ button to return to this page.
http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/turner-heidelberg-from-the-schlangenweg-d35237

Heidelberg Bridge, Castle and Town Photograph by David Hill, taken 25 August 2015, 17.49 GMT Sadly, Turner’s sketch from the Schlangenweg is one of the only subjects that I did not manage to photograph from the exact spot. How it evaded my attention I cannot tell. It seems evident enough that I am not of the same indefatigability as Turner. It may be that eating ice-cream and sitting down played some part in the omission. For now all I can offer is this photograph taken from the same angle but loafing idly on the riverside. bjraven has a photograph taken from a similar angle to the Turner on Panoramio: http://www.panoramio.com/photo_explorer#user=447152&with_photo_id=41674259&order=date_desc

Heidelberg Bridge, Castle and Town
Photograph by David Hill, taken 25 August 2015, 17.49 GMT
Sadly, Turner’s sketch from the Schlangenweg is one of the only subjects that I did not manage to photograph from the exact spot. How it evaded my attention I cannot tell. It seems evident enough that I am not of the same indefatigability as Turner. It may be that eating ice-cream and sitting down played some part in the omission.
For now all I can offer is this photograph taken from the same angle but loafing idly on the riverside.
bjraven has a photograph taken from a similar angle to the Turner on Panoramio: http://www.panoramio.com/photo_explorer#user=447152&with_photo_id=41674259&order=date_desc

J M W Turner Heidelberg Castle from the South West, 1844 Graphite and watercolour on paper, 229 x 329 mm From the Heidelberg sketchbook, Tate, London, D35235; Turner Bequest CCCLII 15 as ‘Heidelberg from the South’ This is the first of two studies looking over the castle from the south-west. The octagonal tower stands over the courtyard, with the entrance tower in front to the right, and the garden terrace beyond. The tower in the distance left is the part of the ruins of St Michael’s monastery.  This is the most expansive of the two studies, and conditions appear to be cool and perhaps showery, whilst a gleam of mid-afternoon sunlight picks out the castle and the garden terrace. Photo courtesy of Tate To view this image in Tate’s own catalogue of the Turner bequest, click on the following link, and use your browser’s ‘back’ button to return to this page. http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/turner-heidelberg-castle-from-the-south-d35235

J M W Turner
Heidelberg Castle from the South West, 1844
Graphite and watercolour on paper, 229 x 329 mm
From the Heidelberg sketchbook, Tate, London, D35235; Turner Bequest CCCLII 15 as ‘Heidelberg from the South’
This is the first of two studies looking over the castle from the south-west. The octagonal tower stands over the courtyard, with the entrance tower in front to the right, and the garden terrace beyond. The tower in the distance left is the part of the ruins of St Michael’s monastery. This is the most expansive of the two studies, and conditions appear to be cool and perhaps showery, whilst a gleam of mid-afternoon sunlight picks out the castle and the garden terrace.
Photo courtesy of Tate
To view this image in Tate’s own catalogue of the Turner bequest, click on the following link, and use your browser’s ‘back’ button to return to this page.
http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/turner-heidelberg-castle-from-the-south-d35235

Heidelberg Castle from the South West Photograph by David Hill taken 26 August 2015, 17.10 GMT This is taken from the same angle of view as Turner’s colour studies, but from much lower down and closer to the castle. Even here most of the castle is shielded by trees. The gate tower is behind the tree to the right. The views any higher are everywhere completely obscured. In Turner’s day the hillsides were more open and views from higher viewpoints were popular with artists. Trying to find Turner’s exact viewpoints was a frustrating business. Even allowing for the German love of being immersed in the wald, there seems to be an obvious case here for some judicious pruning.

Heidelberg Castle from the South West
Photograph by David Hill taken 26 August 2015, 17.10 GMT
This is taken from the same angle of view as Turner’s colour studies, but from much lower down and closer to the castle. Even here most of the castle is shielded by trees. The gate tower is behind the tree to the right. The views any higher are everywhere completely obscured. In Turner’s day the hillsides were more open and views from higher viewpoints were popular with artists. Trying to find Turner’s exact viewpoints was a frustrating business. Even allowing for the German love of being immersed in the wald, there seems to be an obvious case here for some judicious pruning.

J M W Turner Heidelberg Castle from the South West, 1844 Graphite and watercolour on paper, 229 x 329 mm From the Heidelberg sketchbook, Tate, London, D35228; Turner Bequest CCCLII 8 as ‘Heidelberg from the South’ This is the second of two studies of the castle as seen from the south-west. The sun is getting round to the west, and the air in the valley is filled with warm, dissolving light. One peculiarity of both sketches is that the architectural detail of the castle is vague and one respect rather inaccurate. To the left of the octagonal tower we can see (correctly) the Renaissance gables of the Friedrich building: But to the left of that should be the long range of the Englischer Hof, leading to the Dicker Turm. This has been compressed by Turner. It seems very likely that he could not actually see the whole castle. Nowadays we do at least have the wonders of virtuality (see below). Photo courtesy of Tate To view this image in Tate’s own catalogue of the Turner bequest, click on the following link, and use your browser’s ‘back’ button to return to this page. http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/turner-heidelberg-from-the-south-d35228

J M W Turner
Heidelberg Castle from the South West, 1844
Graphite and watercolour on paper, 229 x 329 mm
From the Heidelberg sketchbook, Tate, London, D35228; Turner Bequest CCCLII 8 as ‘Heidelberg from the South’
This is the second of two studies of the castle as seen from the south-west. The sun is getting round to the west, and the air in the valley is filled with warm, dissolving light. One peculiarity of both sketches is that the architectural detail of the castle is vague and one respect rather inaccurate. To the left of the octagonal tower we can see (correctly) the Renaissance gables of the Friedrich building: But to the left of that should be the long range of the Englischer Hof, leading to the Dicker Turm. This has been compressed by Turner. It seems very likely that he could not actually see the whole castle. Nowadays we do at least have the wonders of virtuality (see below).
Photo courtesy of Tate
To view this image in Tate’s own catalogue of the Turner bequest, click on the following link, and use your browser’s ‘back’ button to return to this page.
http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/turner-heidelberg-from-the-south-d35228

Heidelberg Castle from the South West Google Earth 3D buildings view.  With some pruning, it might be possible to open up a real view as spectacular as this.

Heidelberg Castle from the South West
Google Earth 3D buildings view.
With some pruning, it might be possible to open up a real view as spectacular as this.

Heidelberg sunset Photograph by David Hill taken 26 August 2015, 18.20 GMT

Heidelberg sunset
Photograph by David Hill taken 26 August 2015, 18.20 GMT

J M W Turner Heidelberg Castle from the East, 1844 Graphite and watercolour on paper, 229 x 329 mm From the Heidelberg sketchbook, Tate, London, D35229; Turner Bequest CCCLII 9 as ‘Heidelberg from the East’ Having already sketched in pencil the sunset from the garden terrace, here he sets it down in colour. His viewpoint is actually some way above the terrace itself on the road. It seems to have been a popular vantage point to judge from the indications of figures in this sketch. Sadly, once again there is nothing now to be seen from here but trees. Photo courtesy of Tate To view this image in Tate’s own catalogue of the Turner bequest, click on the following link, and use your browser’s ‘back’ button to return to this page. http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/turner-heidelberg-from-the-east-d35229

J M W Turner
Heidelberg Castle from the East, 1844
Graphite and watercolour on paper, 229 x 329 mm
From the Heidelberg sketchbook, Tate, London, D35229; Turner Bequest CCCLII 9 as ‘Heidelberg from the East’
Having already sketched in pencil the sunset from the garden terrace, here he sets it down in colour. His viewpoint is actually some way above the terrace itself on the road. It seems to have been a popular vantage point to judge from the indications of figures in this sketch. Sadly, once again there is nothing now to be seen from here but trees.
Photo courtesy of Tate
To view this image in Tate’s own catalogue of the Turner bequest, click on the following link, and use your browser’s ‘back’ button to return to this page.
http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/turner-heidelberg-from-the-east-d35229

Heidelberg Castle from the East Google Earth 3D buildings view.  Again, a site worth considering with a view to pruning.

Heidelberg Castle from the East
Google Earth 3D buildings view.
Again, a site worth considering with a view to pruning.

J M W Turner Heidelberg from upstream, morning, 1844 Graphite and watercolour on paper, 229 x 329 mm From the Heidelberg sketchbook, Tate, London, D35231; Turner Bequest CCCLII 11 as ‘Heidelberg from the Hirschgasse’ This sketch records morning light from the left, although the colours are soft and muted. Turner generally rose early to see effects of sunrise, but in August at Heidelberg the sun does not illuminate the castle till quite some while after rising. The river here flows from the north east, so the sun rises along that line for a month or so either side of the summer solstice. The views from upstream were one of his priorities in his sketches of 1833. In this he returns close to a viewpoint of one of those, TB CCCXCVIII, 18a.  Photo courtesy of Tate To view this image in Tate’s own catalogue of the Turner bequest, click on the following link, and use your browser’s ‘back’ button to return to this page. http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/turner-heidelberg-from-the-hirschgasse-d35231

J M W Turner
Heidelberg from upstream, morning, 1844
Graphite and watercolour on paper, 229 x 329 mm
From the Heidelberg sketchbook, Tate, London, D35231; Turner Bequest CCCLII 11 as ‘Heidelberg from the Hirschgasse’
This sketch records morning light from the left, although the colours are soft and muted. Turner generally rose early to see effects of sunrise, but in August at Heidelberg the sun does not illuminate the castle till quite some while after rising. The river here flows from the north east, so the sun rises along that line for a month or so either side of the summer solstice. The views from upstream were one of his priorities in his sketches of 1833. In this he returns close to a viewpoint of one of those, TB CCCXCVIII, 18a.
Photo courtesy of Tate
To view this image in Tate’s own catalogue of the Turner bequest, click on the following link, and use your browser’s ‘back’ button to return to this page.
http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/turner-heidelberg-from-the-hirschgasse-d35231

Heidleberg Castle, Town and Bridge from the banks of the Neckar, upstream of the old bridge Photograph by David Hill taken 27 August 2015, 08.30 GMT

Heidleberg Castle, Town and Bridge from the banks of the Neckar, upstream of the old bridge
Photograph by David Hill taken 27 August 2015, 08.30 GMT

J M W Turner Heidelberg from upstream, late afternoon, 1844 Graphite and watercolour on paper, 229 x 329 mm From the Heidelberg sketchbook, Tate, London, D35238; Turner Bequest CCCLII 18 as ‘Heidelberg from the Neckar Shore close to the Hirschgasse’. This sketch is the first of three that Turner made in 1844 recording the advance of sunset at intervals from viewpoints upstream of the castle and bridge. Finding a view from this aspect had been a priority for Turner on his first visit in 1833, and in this study he returned to close to the viewpoint of an earlier pencil sketch TB CCXCVIII 19. Here the sun appears to be shining towards us, more-or-less down the line of the river, which would set the time of day as in the late afternoon, but before the sun has sunk low enough to intensify the colour. Photo courtesy of Tate To view this image in Tate’s own catalogue of the Turner bequest, click on the following link, and use your browser’s ‘back’ button to return to this page. http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/turner-heidelberg-from-the-neckar-shore-close-to-the-hirschgasse-d35238

J M W Turner
Heidelberg from upstream, late afternoon, 1844
Graphite and watercolour on paper, 229 x 329 mm
From the Heidelberg sketchbook, Tate, London, D35238; Turner Bequest CCCLII 18 as ‘Heidelberg from the Neckar Shore close to the Hirschgasse’.
This sketch is the first of three that Turner made in 1844 recording the advance of sunset at intervals from viewpoints upstream of the castle and bridge. Finding a view from this aspect had been a priority for Turner on his first visit in 1833, and in this study he returned to close to the viewpoint of an earlier pencil sketch TB CCXCVIII 19. Here the sun appears to be shining towards us, more-or-less down the line of the river, which would set the time of day as in the late afternoon, but before the sun has sunk low enough to intensify the colour.
Photo courtesy of Tate
To view this image in Tate’s own catalogue of the Turner bequest, click on the following link, and use your browser’s ‘back’ button to return to this page.
http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/turner-heidelberg-from-the-neckar-shore-close-to-the-hirschgasse-d35238

Heidelberg from upstream Photograph by David Hill taken 27 August 2015, 9.05 GMT

Heidelberg from upstream
Photograph by David Hill taken 27 August 2015, 9.05 GMT

J M W Turner Heidelberg from upstream, sunset, 1844 Graphite and watercolour on paper, 229 x 329 mm From the Heidelberg sketchbook, Tate, London, D35224; Turner Bequest CCCLII 5 as ‘Heidelberg from the Neckar Shore close to the Hirschgasse’. This sketch is the second of three that Turner made in 1844 recording the advance of sunset at intervals from viewpoints upstream of the castle and bridge. Here he is further upstream than in f.18 (above), and at a later hour, with the sun now setting, and casting its characteristic gold and red tones on the castle and its wooded slopes. Finding a view from this aspect had been a priority for Turner on his first visit in 1833, and in this study he returned to close to the viewpoint of an earlier pencil sketch TB CCXCVIII 22. Photo courtesy of Tate To view this image in Tate’s own catalogue of the Turner bequest, click on the following link, and use your browser’s ‘back’ button to return to this page. http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/turner-heidelberg-from-the-neckar-shore-close-to-the-hirschgasse-d35224

J M W Turner
Heidelberg from upstream, sunset, 1844
Graphite and watercolour on paper, 229 x 329 mm
From the Heidelberg sketchbook, Tate, London, D35224; Turner Bequest CCCLII 5 as ‘Heidelberg from the Neckar Shore close to the Hirschgasse’.
This sketch is the second of three that Turner made in 1844 recording the advance of sunset at intervals from viewpoints upstream of the castle and bridge. Here he is further upstream than in f.18 (above), and at a later hour, with the sun now setting, and casting its characteristic gold and red tones on the castle and its wooded slopes. Finding a view from this aspect had been a priority for Turner on his first visit in 1833, and in this study he returned to close to the viewpoint of an earlier pencil sketch TB CCXCVIII 22.
Photo courtesy of Tate
To view this image in Tate’s own catalogue of the Turner bequest, click on the following link, and use your browser’s ‘back’ button to return to this page.
http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/turner-heidelberg-from-the-neckar-shore-close-to-the-hirschgasse-d35224

J M W Turner Heidelberg from upstream, fading light, 1844 Graphite and watercolour on paper, 229 x 329 mm From the Heidelberg sketchbook, Tate, London, D35233; Turner Bequest CCCLII 13 as ‘Heidelberg Castle from the Hirschgasse’. This sketch is the third of three that Turner made in 1844 recording the advance of sunset at intervals from viewpoints upstream of the castle and bridge. Here he is opposite the castle, with the Palais Weimar on the opposite bank, with the setting sun still lower, and the intensity of the colour on the castle now beginning to fade, and to have paled entirely at river level. Finding a view from this aspect had been a priority for Turner on his first visit in 1833, and in this study he returned to close to the viewpoint of an earlier pencil sketch, TB CCXCVIII 23a. Photo courtesy of Tate To view this image in Tate’s own catalogue of the Turner bequest, click on the following link, and use your browser’s ‘back’ button to return to this page. http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/turner-heidelberg-castle-from-the-hirschgasse-d35233

J M W Turner
Heidelberg from upstream, fading light, 1844
Graphite and watercolour on paper, 229 x 329 mm
From the Heidelberg sketchbook, Tate, London, D35233; Turner Bequest CCCLII 13 as ‘Heidelberg Castle from the Hirschgasse’.
This sketch is the third of three that Turner made in 1844 recording the advance of sunset at intervals from viewpoints upstream of the castle and bridge. Here he is opposite the castle, with the Palais Weimar on the opposite bank, with the setting sun still lower, and the intensity of the colour on the castle now beginning to fade, and to have paled entirely at river level. Finding a view from this aspect had been a priority for Turner on his first visit in 1833, and in this study he returned to close to the viewpoint of an earlier pencil sketch, TB CCXCVIII 23a.
Photo courtesy of Tate
To view this image in Tate’s own catalogue of the Turner bequest, click on the following link, and use your browser’s ‘back’ button to return to this page.
http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/turner-heidelberg-castle-from-the-hirschgasse-d35233

Heidelberg Castle and Palais Weimar Photograph by David Hill, Taken 27 August 2015, 8.27 GMT

Heidelberg Castle and Palais Weimar
Photograph by David Hill, Taken 27 August 2015, 8.27 GMT

As it transpired, Turner’s continental tour of 1844 was, apart from a short trip to the north French coast in 1845, his last. In his seventieth year something failed, and his mobility and his productivity were curtailed. Every year for the best part of the last twenty years, and at intervals before that, he had documented his travels and observations in extensive series of colour sketches. His studio cupboards and drawers must have been overflowing with them, thousands of coloured sheets, quite apart from the pencil sketches. Amongst them, it must have seemed as if he was simultaneously swept up in blizzard of the most intense and sublime experience, and at the same time irrecoverably alienated.

Part 5 key image

In the final part of this essay I will look at Turner’s last imaginings of Heidelberg. Before that, however, I have to give some thought to the work I am doing for Leeds Art Gallery in cataloguing their sketches by John Sell Cotman. I hope to post the final part of the present series sometime early in the New Year.

Supported by the Pilkington Anglo-Japanese Cultural Foundation

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