Joseph Mallord William Turner

Birmingham from the South-West


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 120 × 203 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCXXXVIII 19

Catalogue entry

The main view along the top continues to the left across folio 18 verso opposite (D22007), and to the right onto the verso of the present leaf and folio 20 recto (D22009, D22010). There is a series of smaller views running across the foot of both pages.
As part of unpublished Turner research informed by local knowledge, Dr Bernard Richards has compared this prospect with The South West View of Birmingham, in the County of Warwick, a 1731 engraving by the Buck brothers.1 From left to right on the skyline in the present section of the drawing are the spire of Christ Church (demolished in 1899), the dome of St Philip’s Church (later Birmingham Cathedral), with the spire of St Martin’s-in-the-Bullring to their right in the middle distance; the latter is annotated as such by Turner.
The subject had been identified as Birmingham by A.J. Finberg (died 1939) and the watercolour and Turner scholar C.F. Bell (died 1966) in undated manuscript notes in copies of Finberg’s 1909 Inventory.2 For other views of Birmingham, see under folio 3 verso (D21980).

Matthew Imms
August 2013

Conversation with the author, 14 May 2013.
A.J. Finberg, undated MS notes in a copy of Finberg 1909, Tate Britain Prints and Drawings Room, vol.II, p.730; C.F. Bell, undated MS notes in another copy at the same location, vol.II, p.730.

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