Joseph Mallord William Turner

Llandaff: The West Front of the Cathedral


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 264 x 203 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest XXVI 4

Catalogue entry

The cathedral was begun by Bishop Urban in 1120; the west front, recorded here, dates from a century later. It incorporated a statue of one of the founders and patron saints of the foundation, St. Teilo; this appears in the high central niche of the gable. By Turner’s time the structure had become so dilapidated that a new, classical church was in use instead. This is no longer extant. A finished watercolour of this subject is Tate D00686 (Turner Bequest XXVIII A);1 it was exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1796 (701), and may have been executed for Dr Mathews; see the inscription verso, and Turner’s note of ‘Order’d Drawings’ near the front of this sketchbook (D40557). The inscription at the top right has been largely obliterated, presumably in the Tate flood of 1928; its transcription was made by Finberg in a MS note.2
Andrew Wilton, J.M.W. Turner: His Life and Work, Fribourg 1979, p.315 no.143, pl.24.
Tate catalogue files.
Blank; inscribed by Turner in pencil ‘Dr Matthews | D [?or ‘2’]’; stamped in brown ink with Turner Bequest monogram.

Andrew Wilton
April 2012

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