Joseph Mallord William Turner

Lichfield Cathedral: the West End seen from the South East


Not on display

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 277 × 216 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest XXII M

Display caption

In the summer of 1794, Turner made
an extensive tour of the Midlands and North Wales. His early training as an architectural draughtsman stood him
in good stead when recording views
of prominent buildings and landmarks.


This pencil study shows two of the three distinctive spires of Lichfield cathedral.
It would have been executed at least partially on the spot. The composition
and details were followed extremely closely in the completed watercolour he made from this drawing. Turner was able to plan compositions for finished works, even as he sketched in the field.


Gallery label, September 2004

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Catalogue entry

Other studies of Lichfield Cathedral in this series are Tate D00363 and D00365 (Turner Bequest XXII J, L).
Inscribed by Turner in pencil ‘Brownlow Smith | [?Rain bow Gable House]’. The inscription is presumably a note of shop signs on the buildings included in the lower part of the drawing on the recto. The second line is difficult to decipher.

Andrew Wilton
April 2012

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