View this artwork by appointment, at Tate Britain's Prints and Drawings Rooms
Gerald Wilkinson first correctly published this view as showing Woodstock,1 north-west of Oxford, which lies adjacent to the north-eastern side of Blenheim Park, not far from Blenheim Palace itself, shown on folio 2 verso opposite (D21978) and on subsequent pages. The subject had been earlier identified by A.J. Finberg (died 1939) and the watercolour and Turner scholar C.F. Bell (died 1966) in undated manuscript notes in copies of Finberg’s 1909 Inventory.2
Turner’s vantage point is the corner of Oxford Street, as the main Oxford-Chipping Norton road is known at this point, looking west along Market Street, with the tower of St Mary Magdalene Church in Park Street terminating the view; the building in the right foreground is the King’s Arms Hotel. The scene remains recognisable, although the row of houses on the left has been somewhat altered and the building with a tower or cupola, on the near side of the surviving town hall, has been replaced.
At the top right are details of the church tower: a pinnacle and a classical arched window with carved swags below and a pinnacle.