Joseph Mallord William Turner

St Bavo Cathedral, the Belfry, and St Nicholas’s Church, Ghent; Boats; ?Turret of St Nicholas’ Church, Ghent


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 118 × 78 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCXVI 150 b

Catalogue entry

These slight and undeveloped sketches were taken at Ghent, Belgium, on 6 September 1824 (see Tate D20080; Turner Bequest CCXVI 270). Drawn with the sketchbook turned upside down, Turner has made a small jotting of the city’s ancient ecclesiastical buildings at top right, including St Bavo Cathedral, the medieval Belfry, and St Nicholas’s Church. A quick sketch of a sailing boat is located below, Turner possibly showing the vessel navigating part of the city’s canal. The final drawing, taken with the book turned horizontally, appears to show one of the slender blue-stone turrets which decorates the corners of St Nicholas’ Church. Though left unfinished, the sketch suggests some of the form of the turret and surrounding architecture: a section of blind arcading with semi-circular arches and long slim piers and part of a triangular portal, all constructed in the local Sheldt Gothic style.
For further pictures of Ghent see Tate D12715–D12716, D19243, D19246, D19249D19250, D19254, D19260, D19855, D29614–D29617; Turner Bequest CLX 8a–9, CCXIV 203a, 205, 206a–207, 209, 212, CCXVI 150c, CCXCVI 9a–11.

Alice Rylance-Watson
June 2014

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