Joseph Mallord William Turner Interior of a Romanesque Church c.1795–1800

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Artwork details

Title
Interior of a Romanesque Church
Date c.1795–1800
Medium Oil paint on mahogany
Dimensions Support: 610 x 502 mm
frame: 660 x 553 x 57 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
N05529
On display at Tate Britain

Catalogue entry

23. [N05529] Interior of a Romanesque Church c. 1795–1800

THE TATE GALLERY, LONDON (5529)
Mahogany, 24 ×19 3/4 (61 × 50)

Coll. Turner Bequest 1856 (283, one of ‘37 Pictures various’; identified by chalk number on back); transferred to the Tate Gallery 1947.

Lit. Davies 1946, pp. 166, 191 n.27

In the 1856 copy of the Schedule the ‘37 Pictures various’ of 1854 were cut down to seven.

The picture is still awaiting cleaning and is covered by a heavy layer of dirt. Turner seems to have used a panel from a door or piece of furniture. His painting is over several other layers of paint of single colours, and pin holes round the edges, in the surface, suggest that the main area of the panel was originally framed with wooden beading.

Stylistically the picture seems to be early, recalling such ecclesiastical, selectively-lit interiors as the watercolours of Ely Cathedral: looking towards the North Transept and Chancel, probably exhibited in 1797 (Aberdeen Art Gallery; see Wilton 1979, p. 321 no. 195, repr.) and Transept of Ewenny Priory, Glamorganshire, exhibited at the R.A. 1797 (National Museum of Wales, Cardiff; see Wilton 1979, p. 325 no. 227, repr. pl. 28; c.f. also the interior of Ewenny Priory in the ‘Swans’ sketchbook, dated by Finberg to c. 1798, XLII-58 and 59). Compare also the equally dirty Interior of a Gothic Church, which is related to watercolours of 1797 (No. 24, [N05536]).

Published in:
Martin Butlin and Evelyn Joll, The Paintings of J.M.W. Turner, revised ed., New Haven and London 1984

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