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Sculptural Watercolour®  l'Aquarelle sculpturale


Neu-Falkenstein Castle Balsthal Switzerland

Ancient guardian of an entrance to the Swiss plain



Neu-Falkenstein Castle

Balsthal, Canton Solothurn, Switzerland

Sculptural Watercolour® in a box frame 50 x 70 x 7 cm


The Jura Mountains form a long defensive barrier between the lands to the north: France and Germany, and Switzerland's main centres of population. There are remarkably few routes through this barrier, and throughout history they have been well defended. Before 1800, castles such as this played a role in that defence. We are all aware of the revolutionary period at the end of the 18th Century, and it was in 1789 that this castle was destroyed by fire.

Prue Bishop tells us "In the days before the motorway to Basle was completed, we had two routes from the south to Basle: via Balsthal or via Olten. When we took the Balsthal route, I was always struck by Neu-Falkenstein's picturesque setting. When I came to study the sketches of JMW Turner in London, I came across several sketches that I was apparently the first to recognise - and you will find a summary later on of my research findings as you perhaps follow the NEXT arrow at the bottom of every page (Research pages Project 2). But what fascinated me were the many tiny sketches that the great artist made as he passed this way. For instance, in 1844 he was - on the face of it - in a hurry to get back to England to be part of the welcoming crowd as King Louis Philippe of France arrived at Portsmouth for a Royal Visit to meet Queen Victoria: the first 'Entente Cordiale' by the way. Yet he took the time to study Neu-Falkenstein from every angle. Why he did this remains an open question that can probably never be answered. But at the time, Turner regarded his knowledge of European terrain as second-to-none. What is certain is that an accurate knowledge of the terrain here would have been of strategic importance, and Turner had participated occasionally in lending support to London's main military drawing school and was in contact with senior Army officers."




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