Joseph Mallord William Turner

Stourhead: The Gothic Cross above the Lake

?1798

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

Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Gouache, graphite and watercolour on paper
Dimensions
Support: 402 x 539 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D01907
Turner Bequest XLIV e

Catalogue entry

This is an unfinished watercolour for a small group of views at Stourhead, presumably commenced for Sir Richard Colt Hoare, but never completed (see also Tate D01908, D01909; Turner Bequest XLIV f, g). These drawings, incomplete as they are, serve to demonstrate the range of Turner’s technical explorations at this date.
This view looks out over the lake from near the house and the Church of St Peter, a viewpoint opposite that of the other two drawings. The structure is Bristol High Cross, of 1373, which Henry Hoare the younger re-erected here in 1765. The domed building at the edge of the water is the Pantheon, designed by Henry Flitcroft (1697–1769) and built from 1753. Just visible below the lawn is part of the Five-Arch Bridge, constructed in 1762.1
Finberg quotes Turner’s title2 from the inscription on the verso (D40263).

Andrew Wilton
March 2013

1
For Stourhead in general see Kenneth Woodbridge, Landscape and Antiquity: Aspects of English Culture at Stourhead, 1718–1838, Oxford 1970. Nikolaus Pevsner, Wiltshire, The Buildings of England, Harmondsworth 1963, dates the removal of the High Cross from Bristol to Stourhead to 1780, and the Five-Arch Bridge to 1749.
2
Finberg 1909, I, p.109.

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