Joseph Mallord William Turner

St Margaret of Antioch Church, St Margaret’s at Cliffe


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 113 × 187 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CXCVIII 64 a

Catalogue entry

Made with the page inverted according to foliation, several of the drawings on this page explore the exterior of St Margaret of Antioch church, in St Margaret’s-at-Cliffe on the Kent coast near Dover. This identification contradicts the suggestion put forward by Finberg that the drawings on this page consider St Mary’s Church in Dover.1
Towards the left of the page, Turner describes the building as a whole, looking towards the West Door which is framed by Norman decorative carving.2 The sketch at the top of the page, in the centre, explores this intricate decoration in more detail.3 A brief, hatched sketch towards top right is somewhat more ambiguous, but seems once again to depict a section of the West Door.
Along the north wall of the church Turner describes a row of windows. He demonstrates his interest in this feature by making two additional explorative drawings of them, observed from a less diagonal perspective. One of these sketches is directly above the main image of the church, another tucked into the top left corner of the page. The latter example extends across the gutter and on to the facing page, folio 65 recto (D17316).
In the bottom right corner of the sheet, made with the page turned vertically, Turner describes a view of tall coastal cliffs. Given the location of the St Margaret of Antioch church, it seems likely that these were observed at St Margaret’s Bay, presumably looking towards the southwest and Dover. The topography at St Margaret’s Bay seems to be explored several times in a consecutive run of pages including this one, on folios 64 recto, 65 recto, 65 verso, 66 recto, and 66 verso (D17314, D17316–D17319). There are further examples on folios 35 verso and 69 recto (D17267 and D17324).

Maud Whatley
January 2016

Finberg 1909, I, p.606.
‘Our churches’, The Churches of St Margaret’s Benefice, accessed 16 November 2015,
For the designs which decorate the West Door of the church, see ‘An illustration dating from the 1880’s showing the Norman decoration around a door of the parish church of St Margaret-at-Cliffe’, British Towns and Villages Network, accessed 16 November 2015,

Read full Catalogue entry


You might like

In the shop