Joseph Mallord William Turner

Canterbury Cathedral: Becket’s Crown and St Augustine’s Chair


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 264 × 203 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest XXVI 71 v

Catalogue entry

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

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