Joseph Mallord William Turner

Leicester Abbey on the River Soar


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 120 × 203 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCXXXVIII 20 v

Catalogue entry

The remains of Leicester Abbey stand north of the city on the west bank of a broad reach of the River Soar, where there are now several weirs below the outer walls. This sketch, looking north-west from the river, was identified by John Ruskin and has traditionally been cited as the basis of the watercolour Leicester Abbey, Leicestershire, c.1832 (Art Institute of Chicago),1 engraved in 1834 for the Picturesque Views in England and Wales (Tate impressions T05096, T06111).2 However, the two-part southern prospect on folio 18 recto (D22006), corresponds more closely to the finished design, which is perhaps a synthesis of the two sketches.
For more on the history and associations of the site, see under D22006.
Wilton 1979, p.400 no.856.
See Cook and Wedderburn 1904, p.566; Finberg 1909, II, p.730; Shanes 1979, p.156; Wilton 1979, p.400; and Joll 1984, p.58.
Technical notes:
As discussed in the entry for the recto of this leaf (D22010, stamped CCXXXVIII 20’) Finberg described page ‘20. Leicester Abbey’ as the recto, and as a ‘continuation’ from folio 19 verso (D22009). In fact the latter drawing was continued on the other side of the present leaf, which is now correctly opposite D22009.
There is some mottled brown staining across the upper part of the page.

Matthew Imms
August 2013

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