Joseph Mallord William TurnerAll Saints Church and the High Street, Oxford c.1837-9

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Artwork details

Artist
Title
All Saints Church and the High Street, Oxford
Date c.1837-9
MediumWatercolour on paper
Dimensionssupport: 376 x 555 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D36316
Turner Bequest CCCLXV 26
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Catalogue entry

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
All Saints Church and the High Street, Oxford c.1837–9
D36316
Turner Bequest CCCLXV 26
Watercolour on white wove paper, 376 x 555 mm
Watermark ‘J Whatman | 1837’
Inscribed in red ink ‘26’ bottom right
Blind-stamped with Turner Bequest monogram bottom centre
Stamped in black ‘CCCLXV – 26’ bottom right
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
As identified by Andrew Wilton,1 this loose colour study shows the view east along Oxford’s High Street, looking towards the viewpoints of five others (Tate D25125, D25126, D25127, D25228, D25485; Turner Bequest CCLXIII 3, 4, 5, 106, 362) which show the view to the west up the same street. Eric Shanes identifies its source as a pencil drawing in the Oxford sketchbook, in use between about 1834 and 1838,2 dominated by All Saints Church (now the library of Lincoln College) on the left (Tate D27928; Turner Bequest CCLXXXV 23).3 Shanes suggests that the undeveloped design, which he dated to about 1837–40, might have been intended for Turner’s Picturesque Views in England and Wales,4 the last engravings for which appeared in 1838, and that the artist might have intended to develop a finished composition here as a pair to either D25127 or D25485 (CCLXIII 5, 362), which are on sheets of similar sizes.5
Colin Harrison has also dated this sheet to the late 1830s,6 and it is dated here to about 1837–9, as are the five views in the other direction (albeit allowing that D25125 and D25127 may be considerably earlier). See also the introductions to the present subsection of identified but unrealised Oxford subjects and the overall England and Wales ‘colour beginnings’ grouping to which this work has been assigned.
1
Wilton 1987, p.98.
2
See Harrison 2000, p.88.
3
Shanes 1997, p.90; see also p.12.
4
See ibid., pp.13, 26, 86, 90, 97, 100, 107.
5
Ibid., p.90.
6
Harrison 2000, pp.91, 105.
Technical notes:
As Eric Shanes notes,1 four other Oxford colour studies are closely related physically: Tate D36314 (Turner Bequest CCCLXV 24, watermarked 1837) and Tate D25218 (Turner Bequest CCLXIII 96) are halves of what was a single sheet, and the same applies to Tate D25220 (Turner Bequest CCLXIII 98) and Tate D25217 (Turner Bequest CCLXIII 95). He suggests that their ‘distinctive, shared characteristics’, along with those of the present work (also watermarked 1837), indicate that they ‘may have been made during the same work session’.2
1
Shanes 1997, p.86.
2
Ibid.
Verso:
Blank; inscribed in pencil ‘AB 93 P | O’ bottom right; stamped in black with Turner Bequest monogram above ‘CCCLXV – 26’ bottom right; inscribed in pencil ‘CCCLXV . 26’ bottom left. Prominent vertical marks at 75 mm intervals are presumably relics of the sheet’s manufacture.

Matthew Imms
March 2013

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