Joseph Mallord William Turner

View of Oxford; Detail of the Radcliffe Observatory

1839

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Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Graphite on paper
Dimensions
Support: 140 x 235 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D28333
Turner Bequest CCLXXXIX 22

Catalogue entry

Drawn inversely relative to the foliation, this panorama of Oxford is continued from the folio opposite (Tate D28333; Turner Bequest CCLXXXIX 21a). The view is taken from the west of the city at the village of North Hinksey. This part of the prospect encompasses All Souls College, St Mary’s Church, and the Radcliffe Camera.
Turner has also made a small jotting of the Radcliffe Observatory, the astronomical observatory of the University of Oxford from 1773 to 1934.1 The Observer’s House was built to the designs of the architect Henry Keene (1726–1776) with the remaining building constructed under James Wyatt (1746–1813).2 The latter based his designs for the observatory on the Tower of the Winds, an octagonal marble clock tower on the Agora in Athens.3 The ornament which crowns the building (represented in the present drawing as a simple circle) is a celestial globe by the English sculptor John Charles Felix Rossi (1762–1839) modelled on the Farnese Atlas.4

Alice Rylance-Watson
August 2013

1
‘The Radcliffe Observatory’, Green Templeton College, Oxford, http://www.gtc.ox.ac.uk/about-gtc/history-and-architecture/the-radcliffe-observatory.html, accessed 14 August 2013.
2
‘The Sculpted Figures’, Green Templeton College, Oxford, http://www.gtc.ox.ac.uk/about-gtc/history-and-architecture/the-radcliffe-observatory/sculpted-figures.html, accessed 14 August 2013.
3
Ibid.
4
Ibid.

Read full Catalogue entry

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