J.M.W. Turner: Sketchbooks, Drawings and Watercolours

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner Canterbury Cathedral: Becket's Crown and St Augustine's Chair 1798

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Folio 68 Verso:
Canterbury Cathedral: Becket’s Crown and St Augustine’s Chair 1798
Turner Bequest XXVI 71v
Pencil on white wove paper, 264 x 203 mm
Finberg listed this originally as ‘Hereford Chair, Hereford Cathedral’, but later identified it correctly. ‘Becket’s Crown’ (Corona) was built under the direction of William the Englishman in 1182–4. St Augustine’s chair, of Purbeck marble, dates from the thirteenth century (it is no longer in St Anselm’s Chapel, but has been returned to its original position at the east end of the Choir).
Turner had exhibited a watercolour of the exterior of this part of the Cathedral under the title St Anselm’s Chapel, with Part of Thomas-à-Becket’s Crown, Canterbury Cathedral, at the Royal Academy in 1794 (Whitworth Art Gallery Manchester, D113.1892);1 he seems to have made it for his mentor Dr Thomas Monro (1759–1833), and bought it back from Monro’s sale in 1833.
The drawing is inverted relative to the sketchbook’s foliation.
Andrew Wilton, J.M.W. Turner: His Life and Work, Fribourg 1979, p.307 no.55; Charles Nugent and Melva Croal, Turner Watercolors from Manchester, exhibition catalogue, Memphis Brooks Museum of Art, Memphis 1997, reproduced in colour p.31.
Technical notes:
There are some watercolour smears at the edges from the subject on folio 69 recto opposite (D00629; Turner Bequest XXVI 72).

Andrew Wilton
April 2012

How to cite

Andrew Wilton, ‘Canterbury Cathedral: Becket’s Crown and St Augustine’s Chair 1798 by Joseph Mallord William Turner’, catalogue entry, April 2012, in David Blayney Brown (ed.), J.M.W. Turner: Sketchbooks, Drawings and Watercolours, Tate Research Publication, December 2012, https://www.tate.org.uk/art/research-publications/jmw-turner/joseph-mallord-william-turner-canterbury-cathedral-beckets-crown-and-st-augustines-chair-r1140952, accessed 27 May 2018.