Joseph Mallord William Turner

Holy Island: General View from the Sea


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 210 × 270 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest XXXIV 51

Catalogue entry

With the page turned horizontally, Turner shows the ruins of Lindisfarne Priory Church with Holy Island Castle beyond; the Parish Church of St Mary is just visible at the extreme left. David Hill suggests that this was Turner’s first view of the place, coming by sea from Bamburgh. It is possible that this leaf has been misbound, since it occurs in the middle of a sequence of drawings of the interior of the priory church on folios 53 recto, and 55 recto, 56 recto, 57 recto and 58 recto (Tate D00958, D00960–D00963; Turner Bequest XXXIV 50, 52–55), which appears to have absorbed much of Turner’s interest. However, he did return to this more general view for a watercolour in the series of Picturesque Views in England and Wales (Victoria and Albert Museum, London),1 engraved in 1830 (Tate impressions: T04558, T04559, T06089); its dramatic storm and figures coming ashore in a rough sea prompted David Hill to speculate that Turner experienced such conditions during his own visit to Lindisfarne.
Andrew Wilton, J.M.W. Turner: His Life and Work, Fribourg 1979, p.396 no.819, reproduced.
Blank; stamped in brown ink with Turner Bequest monogram.

Andrew Wilton
January 2013

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