Joseph Mallord William Turner

Durham: Distant View of the Cathedral, Seen beyond Woods from the South-East


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 115 × 164 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest LIV 4

Catalogue entry

Turner had made several drawings at Durham during his North of England tour of 1797, and developed watercolours from some of them; see the Tweed and Lakes sketchbook (Tate D01014–D01018, D01091; Turner Bequest XXXV 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 89). However, he was unable to resist the temptation to draw its principal buildings as he passed through on this tour; there are also several in the Helmsley sketchbook, including Tate D02483–D02484, D02487–D02490 (Turner Bequest LIII 15a–16, 17a–18, 18a–19).
Here, at some distance away, Turner avails himself of the framing trees to create a composition that did not offer itself while he was working in the city. Another view of the Cathedral from a distance is on the verso (D02620).
Technical notes:
This leaf was not washed by Turner and remains a speckled off-white, like folio 1 (D02614); see also folios 106 and 107 (D02791–D02794).

Andrew Wilton
May 2013

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