Joseph Mallord William Turner

The Tower of Mechelen (Malines) Cathedral, with Other Buildings


Not on display

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 104 × 170 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCCIII 3

Catalogue entry

The drawing was made with the page turned horizontally. Finberg later correctly annotated his generic 1909 Inventory entry (‘Do. [i.e. ditto: Landscape, with church], &c.’): ‘Mechlin’.1 The Turner scholar C.F. Bell marked another copy in the same way.2 This was the traditional English spelling of Mechelen (in Dutch, ‘Malines’ in French), a Flemish city north of Brussels and south of Antwerp, and one of the last stops on the 1840 tour (see the sketchbook’s Introduction).
The slight view here includes the upper stages of the ninety-seven metre (320 foot) tower of St Rumbold’s Cathedral, with its truncated spire, soaring over various gabled and turreted buildings typical of the city. There is a view showing more of the cathedral on the verso (D30465); the Mechelen sketches and a few others fall within a sequence of coastal views at Ostend, roughly seventy miles to the west, which marked the end of Turner’s long Continental itinerary; see under folio 1 recto (D30460).3
There is a distant view of the tower, labelled ‘Malines’, in the 1817 Dort sketchbook (Tate D12997; Turner Bequest CLXII 1a).
Undated MS note by Finberg (died 1939) in interleaved copy of Finberg 1909, Prints and Drawings Room, Tate Britain, II, p.978.
Undated MS note by Bell (died 1966) in copy of Finberg 1909, Prints and Drawings Room, Tate Britain, II, p.978.
See also Powell 1995, pp.72, 82 note 71, 246.
Technical notes:
For discussion of the watermark, see the overall technical notes in the sketchbook’s introduction.1

Matthew Imms
September 2018

See also Bower 1999, pp.102–3.

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