J.M.W. Turner, The Bright Stone of Honour and the Tomb of Marceau, from Byron’s Childe Harolde (1835) (Image: courtesy of Sotheby's)
A painting by Joseph Mallord William Turner described as one of his most important Rhine landscapes will go on display at the premises of Sotheby’s in Cologne to spark interest among potential German bidders before it leads the 5 July evening sale of Old Masters and British paintings in London.
The 1835 painting, The Bright Stone of Honour and the Tomb of Marceau, from Byron’s Childe Harolde, is expected to fetch between £15m and £25m. It is still owned by a private collector. The painting was first exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1835, along with four other works which are now owned by museums.
“Other works from this time now hang in the world’s greatest museums, with only a minute number of this importance and quality remaining in private ownership,” Sotheby’s says.
The painting will go on show on 4 and 5 April in Cologne. It shows the ruins of the Ehrenbreitstein Fortress near Koblenz, a region Turner visited several times. On his third Germany tour in 1833, he produced a series of sketches which are the basis for this painting. He was originally commissioned to produce a watercolour for his friend the publisher John Pye, but decided the subject merited a large oil painting instead.
The painting was last sold in 1965, when it fetched £88,000. The last comparable Turner to be offered at auction, Rome, From Mount Aventine, was painted in the same year and made a record £30.3m at Sotheby’s in 2014, the highest price ever achieved for a British-born artist at auction.