Joseph Mallord William Turner

A Ruined Gothic Building with a Polygonal Turret

1798

View this artwork by appointment, at Tate Britain's Prints and Drawings Rooms

Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Graphite on paper
Dimensions
Support: 174 x 125 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D01743
Turner Bequest XLII 68

Catalogue entry

Inverted relative to the sketchbook’s foliation, the drawing is continued on folio 35 recto opposite (D01744; Turner Bequest XLI 69). The building shown here occurs in the view on folios 35 verso–36 recto (D01745–D01746; Turner Bequest XLI 70–71). It is odd that such a distinctive and elaborately detailed structure should not be immediately recognisable. Finberg suggested that the ‘O’ inscribed on D01745 indicates either Ogmore Castle1 or Oystermouth,2 though there is no evidence that this is the case, though the siting of the castle in the drawing on D01745–D01746 bears some resemblance to that of Oystermouth.
The building may be a church or chapel, and is seen here in a view looking out across the water towards lower ground beyond, whereas the view on D01745–D01746 is taken from across the river or lake, and shows the steep slope behind the building, crowned with a ruined tower. The tower recurs in two further drawings, on folios 36 verso–37 recto and 37 verso–38 recto (D01747–D01750; Turner Bequest XLI 72–73, 74–75), both of which are inscribed ‘O’.

Andrew Wilton
March 2013

1
Finberg 1909, I, p.104.
2
Undated MS note by Finberg (died 1939) in interleaved copy of Finberg 1909, Prints and Drawings Room, Tate Britain, I, opposite p.104.

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