Joseph Mallord William Turner

Christ Church Gate, Canterbury


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 18 a

Catalogue entry

Inverted relative to the sketchbook’s foliation, this rapid sketch shows Christ Church Gate, the south-western entrance to the precincts of Canterbury Cathedral, hemmed in by shops at the junction of Sun Street and Burgate with Mercery Lane, Turner’s viewpoint looking north. Above appear to be slight indications of the western towers of the cathedral. The gateway’s original corner turrets were taken down in about 1830 and restored over a century later; it is unclear whether Turner shows them still in place.1
He had drawn the same view in elaborate detail around 1794 (Tate D00157; Turner Bequest XV A), when he exhibited a watercolour of a nearby view at the Royal Academy (currently untraced);2 there is a related watercolour in the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge,3 as well as early 1790s watercolours of the north side of the gate (Tate D00176; Turner Bequest XVII A; and Yale Center for British Art, New Haven).4
For other views of Canterbury in this sketchbook, see under folio 3 recto (D35761)

Matthew Imms
September 2016

For chronology and historic engravings and photographs, see Tina Machado, ‘Christ Church Gate’, Historic Canterbury, accessed 16 February 2016,
Andrew Wilton, J.M.W. Turner: His Life and Work, Fribourg 1979, p.306 no.53, reproduced.
Ibid., p.304 no.34, reproduced.
Ibid., pp.306–7 no.54, reproduced.

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