Joseph Mallord William Turner

Prague; View in the Old Town Square Looking towards the Town Hall of the Old Town and the Tyn Church


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 100 × 159 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCCI 28 a

Catalogue entry

Here Turner shows the Old Town Square in Prague. The medieval Old Town Hall is visible at left, its tower decorated with a series of conical turrets. Mounted near the base of the tower is the astronomical clock, constructed by a master clockmaker in the early fourteen hundreds. Though Turner was only able to suggest some of its decorative moulding and its two circular faces from a distance, the clock is highly ornate and features a host of allegorical and apostolic statues.
Looking beyond the Old Town Hall and towards the rear of the Square is Týn Church, which Turner has rendered with faint and tentative line presumably to give an impression of aerial recession. The Church is topped with two high towers, each in turn decorated with fine, elongated spires.
Other drawings of Prague can be found at Tate D30344–D30361, D30364–D30366; Turner Bequest CCCI 25–33a, 36–37. The Prague, Nuremberg, Frankfurt and Rhine sketchbook of the same tour holds drawings of the city at Tate D30759–30761, D30764–D30765, D30767, D30771–D30773, D30775–D30777, D30779–D30783, D30788–D30790, D30792–D30803, D30805, D30807–D30811, D30813–D30820; Turner Bequest CCCIV 68–69, 70a–71, 72, 74–75, 76–77, 78–80, 82a–84, 85–91, 92, 93–96, 97–102.

Alice Rylance-Watson
September 2015

Read full Catalogue entry

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