Joseph Mallord William Turner

Holy Island Cathedral


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Watercolour on paper
Support: 185 × 265 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CXVI N

Display caption

This view shows the columns in the nave of the priory church of Lindisfarne. It was one of four North of England subjects engraved in similar sepia colours for the Liber Studiorum, the group of mezzotints Turner worked on between 1806 and the early 1820s. Even before Turner's visit the remains of the nave had begun to fall, but by 1820 the arches in this view had collapsed completely. Turner chose a bold and original way of presenting the ruins, confronting the broken wall head-on, and elivening the expanse of stone with contrasting areas of light and shade.

Gallery label, August 2004

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