Joseph Mallord William Turner

Oxford; Tower and Chapel of Magdalen College and other Architectural Details


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 88 × 110 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CXI 47 a

Catalogue entry

Drawn with the sketchbook inverted. Among other details of a gate and an oriel window, Turner has sketched the west end of Magdalen College Chapel at upper left and Magdalen Tower on the right, both as seen from the High Street.
See notes to folio 43 verso (D07659) for Oxford views in this sketchbook and their relationship to Turner’s picture View of the High-Street, Oxford painted for James Wyatt (Loyd Collection; on loan to the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford).1 Looking west to Carfax, this picture did not require sketches of Magdalen, at the opposite end of the High, but Turner already envisaged a companion subject. In April 1810 he wrote to warn Wyatt that ‘in case it should be determined to try the other end of the High St’ there would be a delay of at least three years before it could be engraved.2 A companion was painted, but was the more rural View of Oxford from the Abingdon Road (private collection)3 based on a later drawing (Tate D17151; Turner Bequest CXCV (a) A), exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1812 and engraved in 1818.

David Blayney Brown
April 2011

Martin Butlin and Evelyn Joll, The Paintings of J.M.W. Turner, revised ed., New Haven and London 1984, pp.73–4 no.102 (pl.109).
Turner to James Wyatt, postmarked 6 April 1810, in John Gage ed., Collected Correspondence of J.M.W. Turner with an Early Diary and a Memoir by George Jones, Oxford 1980, p.43.
Butlin and Joll 1984, p.88 no.125 (pl.130).

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