Joseph Mallord William Turner The Interior of Durham Cathedral, Looking East along the South Aisle c.1798

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Artwork details

Title
The Interior of Durham Cathedral, Looking East along the South Aisle
Date c.1798
Medium Graphite, watercolour and gouache on paper
Dimensions Support: 758 x 580 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D01101
Turner Bequest XXXVI G
View this artwork by appointment, at Tate Britain's Prints and Drawings Rooms

Display caption

Since 1794 Turner's depictions of architecture had become increasingly sublime as he strove to recreate the sense of awe imposed on the visitor by the immense structures of England's cathedrals. For this type of watercolour he evolved a sophisticated technique of scratching away or lifting out colour to introduce light into the sombre interior. This view manages to suggest the towering grandeur of Durham's distinctive architecture, while at the same time creating a sense of depth by choosing a viewpoint of overlapping and interconnected spaces. Turner executed another interior view of Durham Cathedral, which was engraved to illustrate a volume of essays (see no.65 in the nearby showcase).

August 2004