Joseph Mallord William Turner

Chester Castle and St John the Baptist’s Church across the River Dee


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 114 × 191 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCXXXIX 62

Catalogue entry

The subject was identified as ‘Chester’ 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.1 The view is north-east up the River Dee past Chester Castle, seen on folio 61 verso opposite (D22264), to the Old Dee Bridge and the tower of St John the Baptist’s Church, which collapsed in 1881.2 The subject is comparable with Turner’s 1794 drawing (Tate D40041; verso of Turner Bequest XXI L), the basis of an untraced watercolour3 engraved in 1796 as Chester (Tate impression: T05892). See also the views on folio 61 recto (D22263).
For other views of Chester, see under folio 14 verso (D22176).

Matthew Imms
April 2014

A.J. Finberg, undated MS notes in a copy of Finberg 1909, Tate Britain Prints and Drawings Room, vol.II, p.735; C.F. Bell, undated MS notes in another copy at the same location, vol.II, p.735.
See Steve Howe, ‘9. The Church of St. John the Baptist’, Chester: A Virtual Stroll around the Walls, accessed 24 October 2013,
Andrew Wilton, J.M.W. Turner: His Life and Work, Fribourg 1979, p.311 no.93.

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