Joseph Mallord William Turner

?Peak Cavern, Castleton; The Phoenix Tower, Chester


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 191 x 114 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCXXXIX 59 a

Catalogue entry

There are three sketches here, made with the page turned vertically. The main view in the lower half, with jagged forms in a dark, overarching setting, is presumably Peak Cavern, below Peveril Castle, Castleton, or another Peak District cave. Below, above the gutter at the inner edge of the page, appears to be a small sketch with irregular forms and strong light and shade, which may show another aspect of the cave. For other such views, see under folio 1 verso (D22152).
Above, separated by horizontal pencil lines, Turner shows the basically medieval Phoenix Tower (also known as the Newton Tower and the King Charles Tower), built on or near Roman foundations at the north-east corner of Chester’s city walls, looking west along the Shropshire Union Canal; this aspect of the structure is now obscured by trees growing on the bank where Turner indicates a timber yard, which can be seen in a later engraving.1 For other views of Chester, see under folio 14 verso (D22176).

Matthew Imms
April 2014

See Steve Howe, ‘3. The Phoenix Tower’, Chester: A Virtual Stroll around the Walls, accessed 24 October 2013,

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