Joseph Mallord William Turner

Canterbury Cathedral to the West from St Martin’s Church


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 76 × 98 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCCLXIII 8

Catalogue entry

Inverted relative to the sketchbook’s foliation, the view continues on folio 7 verso opposite (D35770). The viewpoint is north-east of St Martin’s Church, looking west to Canterbury Cathedral (see on the other page) from what is now the Querns Road area north of St Martin’s Hill. Whether or not Turner was aware of it, the modest church has major historical significance as the oldest in continuous use in the English-speaking world, with Roman and Saxon architectural elements; it was used as the base for St Augustine’s mission to Canterbury and beyond in 597 AD.1
The modern building at the bottom right here is Canterbury Prison, with the towers of St Augustine’s Monastery beyond. The slender spire marks St George’s Church, of which only the tower now remains. Finberg wrongly described the view as ‘from Dane John’,2 which lies south-west of the Cathedral. There is a less detailed reprise of the whole view on folio 8 verso (D35772). For other drawings of Canterbury in this sketchbook and elsewhere, see under folio 3 recto (D35791).

Matthew Imms
September 2016

See ‘Story of St Martin’s’, St Martin and St Paul’, accessed 28 September 2016,
Finberg 1909, II, p.1177.

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