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Past Exhibition

On the Upper Rhine

watercolor of Rhine River with mountains on either side

Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775–1851)
On the Upper Rhine, ca. 1820
Watercolor on paper
17 5/8 x 13 3/4 in. (44.8 x35 cm)
Bolton Library & Museum Services

Most likely an imagined view, this image combines some of the river’s most distinctive picturesque traits — its winding path and steep gorges. Logging was one of the region’s major commercial enterprises, with lumber transported on extended rafts for processing and distribution. Though this raft is relatively small, in travel journals from the period, British tourists marveled at rafts up to a thousand feet long.