Joseph Mallord William Turner

Lichfield Cathedral


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 78 × 110 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCXL 33 a

Catalogue entry

Lichfield Cathedral is shown in rough outline to the north-east, inverted relative to the sketchbook’s foliation; houses with stepped gables are still to be seen around it off the Cathedral Close. The separate building at the top right resembles Dimble House, on Beacon Street. Together with a detailed study of the cathedral in the contemporary Kenilworth sketchbook (Tate D22068; Turner Bequest CCXXXVIII 50a), aspects of the present sketch informed a finished watercolour, Lichfield, made in about 1832 (private collection).1
The watercolour was not engraved for Turner’s Picturesque Views in England and Wales (see the Introduction to the present tour), although its format suggests it was produced for the series. Its overall composition was based on a detailed 1794 pencil drawing (Tate D00365; Turner Bequest XXII L) which bears traces of pink and blue colour, perhaps accidentally deposited during Turner’s work on the watercolour or a related ‘colour beginning’ (Tate D25215; Turner Bequest CCLXIII 93).
For other views of Lichfield, see under folio 30 verso (D22378).
Andrew Wilton, J.M.W. Turner: His Life and Work, Fribourg 1979, p.403 no.882, reproduced.
Technical notes:
This leaf is affected by the extensive pale brown, mottled staining which extends throughout this particular gathering (folios 31–42; D22379–D22402) and also folios 30 and 43 recto and verso (D22377, D22378, D22403, D22404), as discussed in the Technical notes to the sketchbook’s Introduction.

Matthew Imms
August 2013

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