Joseph Mallord William Turner

Glasgow Cathedral from the Necropolis


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 113 × 190 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCLXIX 71 a

Catalogue entry

This architecturally detailed drawing of Glasgow Cathedral was made from the Necropolis, the cemetery that lies on a hill to the east of the cathedral. There is a row of tombstone and monuments of different shape and sizes at the bottom of the page in the foreground of the sketch. We look towards the east end of the cathedral which Turner has drawn in meticulous detail. Many of his other sketches of the cathedral depict only the outline of the building, so Turner relied on this and folio 73 verso (D26399) for architectural information. He did, however, make a mistake in this sketch, drawing the west tower, the smaller of the two, twice in an attempt to correct its position.
To the right of the cathedral is the Royal Infirmary, and to the left is the old Barony Church which stood until 1890 to the south of the cathedral. The Bridge of Sighs, which connects the cemetery to the cathedral, is at the bottom left of the page. There is a similar, though less detailed and slightly awkward sketch of the same view on folio 71 (D26394).
For more information on Turner’s visit to the city and references to further sketches, see folio 73 verso.

Thomas Ardill
October 2010

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