Joseph Mallord William Turner

Part of the Ruins of a Gothic Building, with Fallen Masonry and Foliage

?1799

In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Dimensions
Support: 83 × 166 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D03899
Turner Bequest LXVI 66 a

Catalogue entry

Made with the pages turned horizontally, the drawing is continued on folio 67 recto opposite (D03900). Apparently noted on the spot, this is one of only three topographically specific drawings in the book; the others are on folios 125a verso and 129 verso–130 recto (D03963, D03968–D03969; Turner Bequest LXVI 125a, 128a –129), suggesting that, notwithstanding its primary use as a repository of details for large pictures, it also accompanied Turner on at least one of his tours.
These are perhaps ruins at Whalley, where Turner drew the Abbey in some detail in his 1799 Lancashire and North Wales sketchbook (Tate; Turner Bequest XLV); see also the Dolbadarn sketchbook (Tate D02005–D02006; Turner Bequest XLVI 9a–10). Turner seems to have been particularly interested in the pair of upright headstones catching the light in the centre of the vista. The ornamented band of moulding that appears at the top centre seems not to be integral to the subject, and may be the note of a separate detail.

Andrew Wilton
May 2013

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