Joseph Mallord William Turner

Canterbury: The West Gate, from the River Stour

1792

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

Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Graphite and watercolour on paper
Dimensions
Support: 215 x 273 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D00161
Turner Bequest XV E

Display caption

Canterbury in Kent has a rich Roman and medieval heritage which fascinated antiquarians and artists in the eighteenth century. Turner's watercolour shows the medieval West Gate together with ramshackle working buildings.

Such a combination of the ancient and the rundown was appreciated for its picturesque’ qualities.  But Canterbury was also a prosperous modern town. A round of urban improvements had taken place in 1769, with new paving and street lighting. The West Gate was in fact the only gateway not to be demolished.

Gallery label, August 2004

Catalogue entry

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