Joseph Mallord William Turner

?A Mausoleum Interior at Père Lachaise, Paris


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 174 × 117 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCLIV 20

Catalogue entry

With the sketchbook turned horizontally, Turner filled the left-hand side of this page with a study of an interior with a Gothic vault and a flight of steps. On the other side of the page is a wall, apparently lined floor to ceiling with plaques. Two crucifixes on this feature suggest a religious context. Although the location of these buildings has not been identified, the neighbouring pages in the sketchbook are much taken up with views of the hillside Père-Lachaise Cemetery some two miles east of central Paris.1 Turner may therefore have ventured into one of the larger family mausoleums at that site to make these drawings. The many studies of Père-Lachaise in this sketchbook culminated in an engraved illustration for a new edition of Walter Scott’s Life of Napoleon Buonaparte (1834–6); see Tate impression T04744.

John Chu
July 2014

Ian Warrell, Turner on the Seine, exhibition catalogue, Tate Gallery, London 1999, pp.54, 243–6.

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