Joseph Mallord William Turner

The Great North Road from the Highgate Archway, with London and St Paul’s Cathedral in the Distance


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 95 × 157 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CXXXI 133 a

Catalogue entry

With the page turned horizontally, although there is no indication in the foreground, this view may be from Hornsey Lane at the point where it actually crossed the new Highgate Archway, looking south-south-east down the cutting for the new Archway Road section of the Great North Road which the structure was built to cross. The buildings in the middle distance are in the vicinity of the modern Archway London Underground station, with the dome of St Paul’s Cathedral on the horizon beyond. Among contemporary prints and drawings in the London Metropolitan Archives, View from the Slopes of Highgate Archway, an 1822 lithograph by Thomas Mann Baynes (1794–1854), shows a very similar prospect, even including what may be the same fir tree as indicated towards the left here. Turner notes ‘Islington’, which lies about halfway towards central London from this point, with a short line below directed towards a church spire, perhaps that of St Mary’s, Upper Street. St Paul’s can still be seen from Hornsey Lane, albeit hemmed in by the commercial towers of the City.
The drawings between folios 218 verso and 227 verso (D09362–D09380; Turner Bequest CXXXI 129a–138a) are all identified or likely Highgate views; they were probably made working in from the back of the book as now foliated. The subject is discussed under folio 128 verso (D09360; Turner Bequest CXXXI 128a), apparently incorrectly isolated from the rest of the sequence by a block of blank leaves.

Matthew Imms
April 2014

Read full Catalogue entry


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