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Ehrenbreitstein, or The Bright Stone of Honour and the Tomb of Marceau

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Ehrenbreitstein, or The Bright Stone of Honour and the Tomb of Marceau, from Byron’s Childe Harold


The estimate for this lot should read £17,000,000 - £25,000,000. This lot has been guaranteed at minimum price. Please refer to the printed catalogue for information on guaranteed property. Please note that this lot is subject to an irrevocable bid. Please refer to the printed catalogue for information on irrevocable bids.


Oil on canvas


Turner, Joseph Mallord William


The following condition report is provided by Simon Howell, of Shepherd Conservation Limited, who is an external specialist and not an employee of Sotheby's: The painting was examined using the ambient lighting and with the aid of a hand-held Tungsten Halogen light. It was also viewed in Ultra-violet light and low-powered magnification. The painting is a work in oil paint on canvas attached to a wooden stretcher. The stretcher is made of a softwood such as pine, with a single cross-bar and keyed miter joints. All the keys are present within the joints and held with copper wire. The stretcher is in good condition, with no obvious weakness of the joints or warping of the rails. The design of the stretcher is typical of those used by liner’s after the war and would most likely originate from the United Kingdom. A hardboard backboard is screwed in to the back of the stretcher, with several collection labels attached. The canvas is securely attached to the stretcher with iron tacks around all four sides. The artist’s original canvas has been lined onto a secondary support made of linen. The verso of the lining canvas has been stained to a mid-brown from its original fawn colour. The adhesive used is a glue-paste or animal glue with an addition of flour to increase the viscosity. The lining appears to be in good condition and there is no evidence of any delamination between the two canvases or loss of tension in the support. Close observation of the impasto reveals that it has not been significantly affected by the lining and it remains crisp, with all the artist’s vibrant brushwork intact. The artist’s canvas is also a linen material, but a finer weave than the lining. The stretcher is slightly larger than the painted image. The edges of the original canvas are therefore visible on all four sides, including about 1cm of the turnover edge, which incorporate the old tack holes. Although some pieces of the original turnover canvas are now missing, possibly during the lining process or due to abrasion and wear, there are no canvas losses that encroach into the artist’s composition. One can therefore be confident that none of the composition has been lost from either of the four edges. There is a 7cm horizontal tear in the canvas, located in the right-hand side of the sky, just above the horizon and a 1cm tear beginning at the left edge, in line with the row of tents in the middle ground; now both secured by the lining. There is a slight ‘witness’ of the stretcher’s vertical cross-bar, passing just to the left of the taller trees, in the middle ground. The artist ‘s technique begins with a thick white ground layer on which the design layers are applied. The subsequent paint layers are laid on using a wide range of textures, glazes and gestural strokes. Cracks have developed in the paint associated with the aging process of the paint and medium. This feature is typical of the artist’s technique and is consistent with other paintings by him from the period. Almost all the retouching found on the painting serves to reduce the visual influence of these cracks. There are no major damages on the painting, other than the small tear, mentioned above. Turner’s technique includes many translucent glazes that are susceptible to thinning during cleaning. Some evidence of this effect can be detected in the finest glazes, such as the toning layer over the foliage to the left of the composition and in the branches of the trees. However, overall the condition of these glazes is remarkably good and the artist’s exceptional technique remains readily apparent to the viewer. The paint surface is covered in a layer of varnish that is considerably discoloured. Dirt is also caught in the hollows of the paint and in some cases has been retouched to hide its presence. This is a painting in excellent condition and the minor issues noted above should not detract from what is a beautiful example of JMW Turner’s technique and artistic vision. Simon Howell, 26th April 2017 "This lot is offered for sale subject to Sotheby's Conditions of Business, which are available on request and printed in Sotheby's sale catalogues. The independent reports contained in this document are provided for prospective bidders' information only and without warranty by Sotheby's or the Seller."


93 x 123 cm.; 36 1/4  x 48 1/2  in.


London, Royal Academy of Arts, 1835, no. 74; Liverpool, Arts Club, Loan Collection of Oil Paintings by British Artists born before 1801, 1881, no. 38; London, Royal Academy, Works by Old Masters, 1883, no. 211; London, Guildhall Art Gallery, Loan Collection of Pictures and Drawings by J.M.W. Turner…, 1899, no. 33 (lent by Thomas Brocklebank); London, Agnew’s, Loan Exhibition of Paintings and Watercolours by J.M.W. Turner, R.A., 1967, no. 19; King’s Lynn, The Fermoy Art Gallery, A Collection of the Nineteen-Sixties, 22 July – 5 August 1972, no. 11; Paris, Petit Palais, Le Peinture romantique anglaise et les Preraphaelites, 1972, no. 266; Berlin, Nationalgalerie Staatliche Museen Preussischer Kulturbesitz, William Turner 1775–1851, 1972, no. 19; London, Victoria and Albert Museum, Byron, 1974, no. 538; London, Royal Academy, Turner 1775–1851, 1974–75, no. 514; Hamburg, Kunsthalle, William Turner und die Landschaft seiner Zeit, 1976, no. 106; Paris, Grand Palais, J.M.W. Turner, 1983–84, no. 59; London, Tate Gallery, Turner’s Rivers of Europe: The Rhine, Meuse and Mosel, 11 September 1991 – 26 January 1992, no. 41; Margate, Turner Contemporary, Making Painting: Helen Frankenthaler and J.M.W. Turner, 25 January – 11 May 2014; London, Tate Gallery, Late Turner: Painting Set Free, 10 September 2014 – 25 January 2015, no. 88; Los Angeles, J. Paul Getty Museum, Late Turner: Painting Set Free, 24 February – 24 May 2015, no. 88; San Francisco, de Young Fine Arts Museum, Late Turner: Painting Set Free, 20 June – 20 September 2015; Oxford, The Ashmolean Museum, on long term loan, 2004 to 2017.


G. F. Waagen, Works of Art and Artists in England, 3 vols, London 1838, vol. II, p. 152; P. Cunningham, 'The Memoir', in J. Burnet, Turner and his Works, London 1852, p. 117, no. 183; W. Thornbury, The Life of J.M.W. Turner, R.A., 2 vols., London 1862, vol. I, pp. 326–27 and 380; W. Thornbury, The Life of J.M.W. Turner, R.A., 2nd ed., London 1877, pp. 407, 452, 578 and 599; F. Wedmore, Turner and Ruskin, 2 vols, London 1900, vol. II, reproduced opposite p. 234; C. F. Bell, A List of Works contributed to Public Exhibitions by J.M.W. Turner, London 1901, p. 126, no. 195; Sir W. Armstrong, Turner, London 1902, pp. 120, 221, reproduced opposite p. 146; G. Rawlinson, The Engraved Work of J.M.W. Turner, R.A., 2 vols, London 1913, vol. II, pp. 206, 208, 342 and 358; T. Whitley, Art in England 1821–1837, Cambridge 1930, p. 298; J. Evans and J. Howard Whitehouse (eds), The Diaries of John Ruskin 1835–1847, Oxford 1956, pp. 268 and 270; A. J. Finberg, The Life of J.M.W. Turner, R.A., 2nd ed., London 1961, pp. 355, 399 and 499, no. 460; J. Rothenstein and M. Butlin, Turner, London 1964, p. 56; Lindsay, J.M.W. Turner, London 1966, p. 187; G. Reynolds, Turner, London 1969, no. 81; A. Wilton, Turner and the Sublime, exhibition catalogue, New Haven and London 1980, p. 97; P. Bicknell and H. Guiterman, ‘The Turner Collector: Elhanan Bicknell’, in Turner Studies, Summer 1987, vol. 7, no. 1, pp. 43–44; J. Gage (ed.), Collected Correspondence of J.M.W. Turner, Oxford 1980, pp. 157–58 and 240; M. Butlin and E. Joll, The Paintings of J.M.W. Turner, 2 vols, New Haven and London 1984, text vol., pp. 211–12, cat. no. 361, plates vol., reproduced pl. 366; C. Powell, Turner’s Rivers of Europe: The Rhine, Meuse and Mosel, Tate exhibition catalogue, London 1991, p. 126, cat. no. 41, reproduced in colour p. 70, pl. 41; Blayney Brown, Turner and Byron, Tate exhibition catalogue, London 1992, pp. 36–37, 56, 63 and 93–94, reproduced in colour p. 68; C. Powell, Turner in Germany, exhibition catalogue, London 1995, pp. 46, 73, 88, and 181–83; S. Martin, Making Painting: Helen Frankenthaler and JMW Turner, exhibition catalogue, 2014; D. Blaney Brown, A. Concannon and S. Smiles (eds), Late Turner: Painting Set Free, exhibition catalogue, London 2014, p. 149, cat. no. 88, reproduced in colour. ENGRAVED By John Pye, 1845; By J. Cousen, for the Turner Gallery, 1859.


Sold directly by the artist, in 1844, to one of his most important patrons, Elhanan Bicknell (1788–1861), Carlton House, Herne Hill, Dulwich; His sale, London, Christie’s, 25 April 1863, lot 118, to Agnew’s on behalf of Ralph Brocklebank; Ralph Brockelbank (1803–1892), Childwall Hall, Liverpool; By descent to his second son, Thomas Brocklebank (1841–1919); By descent to his third son, Captain Henry Cyril Royds Brocklebank, CBE, RN (1874–1957); Sold by his trustees through Agnew’s in 1942 to Wentworth Beaumont, 2nd Viscount Allendale (1890–1956); By descent to his son, Wentworth Hubert Charles Beaumont, 3rd Viscount Allendale (1922–2002); By whom sold (The Property of the Rt. Hon. The Viscount Allendale), London, Sotheby’s, 7 July 1965, lot 90, to Agnew’s, acting on behalf of an English private collector; Thence by descent.






Property from an English Private Collection


London 1775 - 1851

*Note: The price is not recalculated to the current value. It refers to the actual final price at the time the item was sold.

*Note: The price is not recalculated to the current value. It refers to the actual final price at the time the item was sold.