Joseph Mallord William Turner

Glastonbury: The Abbey and Town from Wearyall Hill


Not on display
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 75 x 117 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CXXIII 168

Catalogue entry

Turner’s sketch of Glastonbury is from Wearyall Hill, south-west of Magdalene Street, which runs in front of the ruins to the right, looking north-east towards the centre of the town. The massive crossing piers of the ruins of Glastonbury Abbey are seen beyond the steep roof and lantern of the Abbot’s Kitchen. St Benedict’s Church is on the left, with the taller tower of St John the Baptist’s Church towards the centre. Despite much modern development the hillside remains open and the view is readily recognisable.
Turner looked east-north-east from this viewpoint to St Michael’s Tower on the Tor beyond the edge of the town on the right for the sketch on folio 170 verso opposite (D08681; CXXIII 167a), in a continuation of the view to the east-north-east; as the two sketches were made with the book turned horizontally, they appear one above the other.
For a distant view of Glastonbury Tor from the north, apparently inscribed ‘Avalon’, see folio 122 verso (D08595; CXXIII 119a), under which Turner’s possible awareness of the Arthurian associations of the site is discussed.

Matthew Imms
June 2011

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