Joseph Mallord William Turner

Lichfield Cathedral from the South-West


Not on display

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 233 × 279 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest XXII L

Display caption

During the summer of 1794 Turner toured the midlands and Wales in response to an early commission to produce designs for engraving. This view of Lichfield cathedral is one of the more detailed drawings he made on the spot but it was never translated into print. Nearly 30 years after the first midland tour, however, Turner retrieved the pencil sketch to use as the basis for a finished watercolour. While the latter is now in a private collection, its preparatory colour study forms part of the Turner Bequest. The corresponding paint splashes on the 1794 drawing prove that Turner kept his earlier sketches with a view to their potential for later use.

Gallery label, September 2004

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Catalogue entry

Turner referred to this drawing when, in the early 1830s, he made a watercolour view of Lichfield for the Picturesque Views in England and Wales (private collection);1 it was never engraved. Other studies of Lichfield Cathedral in the 1794 series are Tate D00363 and D00366 (Turner Bequest XXII J, M).
Andrew Wilton, J.M.W. Turner: His Life and Work, Fribourg 1979, p.403 no.882, reproduced.
Technical notes:
There are pink and blue colour smears at the centre right.
Blank (not stamped).

Andrew Wilton
April 2012

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