“Heidelberg” Drawing 1 of 1
The editors of the Library Edition describe the image as a “sketch of a town in a large plain, with distant mountains”, although they misidentify the drawingʼs position in MS IX—at least, as presently found—ascribing it to a position between the poem and prose of the “St. Goar” section. If accurate, that description would have placed the drawing on the verso page (43v) that precedes its current placement (44v) (Ruskin, Works, 2:360).
In the List of Proposed Additional Contents for the “Account”—Illustrations, which begins with an entry for the section “Heidelberg”, the plan for illustrations starts with the direction, “Begin with mountain”, followed by some subjects from medieval chivalry and the supernatural, and ending with a scene on the Middle Rhine copied from Facsimiles of Sketches Made in Flanders and Germany by Samuel Prout (1783–1852). The word “mountain” is scored through, which may have been Ruskinʼs indication to himself that he had completed the drawing, as that mark appears to signify in other instances in the List of Proposed Illustrations.
A mystery remains, however; for while this picture does present a mountain prospect, the scene is oddly lacking in Heidelbergʼs most recognizable landmarks. There is no Heidelberg Castle nestled against the mountainside, no arched bridge across the river, no gothic cathedral tower (rather, a round dome is prominent). The mountain might be intended for the Heiligenberg, which rises above Heidelberg, but that mountain is rounded, unlike the sharp peaks shown in this picture. Also, the plain intervening between the high foreground of the picture and the distant town seems exaggerated in its expansiveness, unless the scene depicts where the Neckar River emerges from the Odenwald mountain range. There the river flows into a level plain toward Mannheim, where it empties into the Rhine. In that case, the drawing would complement the lines of the poem describing how “towards the western day, / Manheims towers softened lay”—but then the mountains shown behind distant Mannheim would be wrong. Perhaps Ruskinʼs deletion of the word “mountain”, then, acknowledges that he based his vignette on a mistaken idea; or perhaps more likely, this drawing is misplaced—a mistake that might have occurred when the manuscript was altered by injurious curation (see Information Lost about the “Account” owing to Curatorial Treatment of Manuscripts; and Missing and Unidentified Drawings for the Composite‐Genre Illustrated Travelogue (MS IX) and Related 1833 Tour Sketches. .