Joseph Mallord William Turner

Ruins at St Bartholomew’s Church, Orford


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 118 × 115 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCIX 87 a

Catalogue entry

The principal sketch is a study of the ruins of St Bartholomew’s Church at Orford, Suffolk. The current building stands next to vestiges of the first Norman church which was constructed at approximately the same time as Orford Castle between 1165 and 1173. It is the ruins of the chancel, the area around the altar in the eastern part of the church, which Turner pictures here. The artist studies the chancel bays, comprised of arches and columns topped with intricately moulded capitals.
At top right there are two diminutive jottings of the coast at Orford and the lighthouse at Orfordness. At rear, and orientated inversely to the drawing of St Bartholomew’s, is a further cursory sketch of Orford.
For other sketches of Orford see Tate D18304–D18305, D18307–D18309; Turner Bequest CCIX 86a–87, 88–89. The sketches are associated with a vignette watercolour of Orford Haven produced in around 1827 for the East Coast series (see general introduction) and the highly finished watercolour Orford, Suffolk of the same date intended for the England and Wales print publication project.1

Alice Rylance-Watson
January 2015

Wilton 1979, p.393 no.796 and Krause 1997, p.162 no.49.

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