Joseph Mallord William Turner

The Norman Staircase at the North Hall, Canterbury

c.1830

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

Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Graphite on paper
Dimensions
Support: 76 x 98 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D35794
Turner Bequest CCCLXIII 19 a

Catalogue entry

This elaborate external staircase stands within the precincts of The King’s School, off The Borough and within sight of the north side of Canterbury Cathedral across the Green Court. It was constructed to give access to the North Hall, built after about 1153 as accommodation for lay visitors; the hall was much modified both before and after Turner’s time.1
The view, inverted relative to the sketchbook’s foliation, is restricted to the south side of the staircase porch, with a hint of its pitched roof, and the massive arches of the three-bay arcade running at right-angles to it under the adjoining hall. Below is a detail of the zigzag moulding of the staircase’s entrance bay and the first of the five narrow arches flanking the stairs to its left.
For other views of Canterbury in this sketchbook, see under folio 3 recto (D35761)

Matthew Imms
September 2016

1
See John Newman, North East and East Kent, The Buildings of England, 2nd ed., Harmondsworth 1976, p.225.

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