Joseph Mallord William Turner

The Town Hall and St Peter’s Church, Louvain, from the North-East Corner of the Market Place


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 94 × 154 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCLXXXVII 2 a

Catalogue entry

Here Turner has made detailed drawings of two of Louvain’s most famous buildings: its Town Hall and St Peter’s Church taken, as Cecilia Powell writes, from the north-east corner of the market place. On the left Turner depicts the soaring choir of St Peter’s, constructed largely in the fifteenth century in the Brabantine Gothic style.1 Its flying buttresses and side chapels rise loftily above houses built in traditional Flemish style. The church is depicted again on the following two folios (Tate D28046, D28047; Turner Bequest CCLXXXVII 3, 3a).
The ornate Stadhuis or Town Hall is represented on the right. Built in the Brabantine Late Gothic style between 1448 and 1469, Turner has attempted to render the wealth of lace-like architectural detailing, carved decoration and statuary which line the façades of each of its storeys.2 The artist annotated the turrets of the building with abbreviated notes such as ‘cornice’ and ‘pil[aster]’.
This pencil sketch formed the basis of a gouache, pen and ink, and watercolour drawing on blue paper (Tate D20263; Turner Bequest CCXXII D) and there is a further colour drawing in the same media (Tate D24590; Turner Bequest CCLIX 25). For other views of Louvain in this sketchbook see Tate D28049–D28050, D28054, D28059–D28064; Turner Bequest CCLXXXVII 4a–5, 7, 9a–12.

Alice Rylance-Watson
April 2013

‘Sint-Peterskerk (St Peter’s Church)’ Stad Leuven,, accessed 15 April 2013.
‘Stadhuis (Town Hall)’ Stad Leuven,, accessed 15 April 2013.

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