Joseph Mallord William Turner

Lichfield Cathedral from St Michael’s Church, Greenhill


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Watercolour on paper
Support: 354 × 514 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCLXIII 99

Catalogue entry

This colour study shows the three pale spires of Lichfield Cathedral, Staffordshire, in the distance to the north-west of St Michael’s Church, Greenhill, the north side of which is shown in shadow to the left. As recognised by Andrew Wilton,1 the composition is based on a pencil drawing in the Kenilworth sketchbook (Tate D22071; Turner Bequest CCXXXVIII 51b), used on Turner’s 1830 tour of the Midlands. He has compared the style and colouring to that of a ‘colour beginning’ of Tamworth Castle (Tate D25306; Turner Bequest CCLXIII 184),2 also derived from the Kenilworth sketchbook.
Wilton also mentions the present work in relation to the finished watercolour Lichfield of about 1832 (private collection),3 which was not engraved for Turner’s Picturesque Views in England and Wales, although its format suggests it was produced for the series. The latter shows a different view of the cathedral, from the south-west, and a colour study for it is Tate D25215 (Turner Bequest CCLXIII 93).
See also the introductions to the present subsection of identified subjects and the overall England and Wales ‘colour beginnings’ grouping to which this work has been assigned.
Wilton 1975, p.109; see also Shanes 1997, pp.96, 105.
Wilton 1975, p.22.
Wilton 1979, p.403 no.882, reproduced.
Blank, save for inscriptions: stamped in black with Turner Bequest monogram above ‘CCLXIII – 99’ bottom left; inscribed in pencil ‘AB 93 P’ and ‘CCLXIII 99’ bottom right.

Matthew Imms
March 2013

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