Joseph Mallord William Turner

The East End of St Michael’s Church, Coventry


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 78 × 110 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCXL 14 a

Catalogue entry

Inverted relative to the sketchbook’s foliation, the apsidal east end of the St Michael’s Church, Coventry (later the Cathedral) is seen from Priory Street, looking south-west. The viewpoint is near the steps to the new Coventry Cathedral, built after the bombing of the medieval building in November 1940.
Only the spire (see folio 15 verso; D22348) and the shell of the outer walls, including the tracery of the windows at the east end, survive. The clerestory level at the top right here, annotated ‘13’ by Turner to show the number of windows or other details, was destroyed. The modern cathedral, running north, is built on to the north side of the ruins, extending from the lower range in the middle of Turner’s sketch. A painting of about 1824 by Edward Rudge (1789–1841) shows the church from a similar angle with graves in the foreground (Herbert Art Gallery & Museum, Coventry).
For other Coventry views, see under folio 9 verso (D22336).

Matthew Imms
August 2013

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