About this artwork

This is the final view in a series Turner made showing the River Mosel, from Trier to the junction with the Rhine at Coblenz. It is based on a pencil drawing created during his second Mosel tour in 1839. Natural and man-made features glisten in the sunlight. The blue paper serves to intensify the rich colours Turner used. It also prompted him to apply opaque body-colour, that is, watercolour mixed with white, to capture the atmospheric light effects rather than just exploit the translucency of pure watercolour. Two boats spaced apart, one on either bank, provide a sense of scale.

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Joseph Mallord William Turner

Joseph Mallord William Turner

Turner transformed the art of landscape painting in Britain. From detailed topographical studies to expansive, atmospheric vistas his works celebrate the diversity and emotive power of nature. He was born in Covent Garden, the son of a barber, and exhibited his earliest sketches in his father's shop before studying at the Royal Academy Schools. Turner became the youngest ever full member of the Royal Academy in 1802. His experimental use of watercolour and oils achieved stunning effects, attracting contemporary criticism and praise. Turner's admiration of past masters, above all Claude Lorraine, and the numerous sketches made on many tours in Britain and abroad, provided the basis for his 'sublime' land and seascapes.