Joseph Mallord William Turner

Durham Cathedral and Castle with a Rainbow


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 112 × 162 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest LIII 97

Catalogue entry

There are several pencil studies at Durham at the front of this sketchbook (see under folio 15 verso; D02483), and another coloured drawing is on folio 98 recto (D02609). Turner also made drawings of Durham using watercolour in the subsequently disbound and dispersed Smaller Fonthill sketchbook, also in use on this tour (Tate; Turner Bequest XLVIII); they are listed in the Introduction to that book (in the ‘Architectural and Other Subjects c.1797–1807’ section of this catalogue) as nos.17–19: Durham Castle, with the Cathedral Beyond (private collection);1 Durham Castle (Leeds Art Gallery);2 Durham Cathedral (National Galleries of Scotland, Edinburgh).3
The two horizontal studies in colour here and on folio 98 recto (D02609) are testimony to the effect on Turner’s imagination of the city, with its well–known group of cathedral, castle and deep gorge of the River Wear. He had already made a large watercolour of the interior of the cathedral after his 1797 visit (Tate D01101; Turner Bequest XXXVI G), and one of the view looking up to the cathedral and castle from below, for the artist John Hoppner (Royal Academy of Arts, London).4 In the early 1830s he was to make Durham the subject of one of his watercolour designs for the Picturesque Views in England and Wales (National Galleries of Scotland, Edinburgh),5 engraved in 1836 (Tate impression: T05101).
For other watercolour studies in this sketchbook, see under folio 5 recto (D02468).
Andrew Wilton, J.M.W. Turner: His Life and Work, Fribourg 1979, p.335 no.314, reproduced.
Ibid., p.335 no.315, reproduced.
Ibid., p.335 no.316, reproduced.
Ibid., p.327 no.249, reproduced.
Ibid., p.402 no.873, reproduced.
Blank; red paint trials; grey–blue smears from folio 98 recto opposite (D02609).

Andrew Wilton
May 2013

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