Joseph Mallord William Turner

Coventry from the North-West

1830

In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Graphite on paper
Dimensions
Support: 78 × 110 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D22370
Turner Bequest CCXL 26 a

Catalogue entry

As others have recognised,1 this drawing, inverted relative to the sketchbook’s foliation and continuing on folio 27 recto opposite (D22371), is a source for Turner’s watercolour Coventry of about 1832 (British Museum, London),2 engraved in 1833 for the Picturesque Views in England and Wales (Tate impression: T06105), as is the similar view on folios 25 verso–26 recto (D22368, D22369).
Here the tower of St John the Baptist, Fleet Street, is seen on the right, with the spire of Christchurch beyond to the south-east. On the left is the spire of St Michael’s. Turner’s viewpoint down Hill Street is in the vicinity of the modern Ringway, which cuts across the street (the old toll road towards Birmingham) and later developments largely obstruct the prospect towards the churches.3 He noted ‘cattle’ at the bottom left, and they duly appeared at this point in the fields of the finished design, along with donkeys, sheep and a horse, in contrast to the isolated factory chimney recorded on the opposite page. There is slight sketch of a medieval building and a distant spire at the top centre.
For other Coventry views, see under folio 9 verso (D22336).

Matthew Imms
August 2013

1
See Wilton 1975, p.123; Shanes 1979, p.156; Wilton 1979, p.399; and Sloan 1998, p.100.
2
Andrew Wilton, J.M.W. Turner: His Life and Work, Fribourg 1979, p.399 no.849, reproduced.
3
See successive historical street maps, [Rob Orland], Historic Coventry, accessed 2 July 2013, http://www.historiccoventry.co.uk/covmaps/allmaps.php.

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