Joseph Mallord William Turner

Two Views of Kirkstall Abbey


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 75 × 118 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCX 51

Catalogue entry

The principal sketch shows Kirkstall Abbey, a twelfth-century Cistercian monastery, from a northeasterly perspective. Kirkstall Bridge (Tate D07272–D07273, D07278; Turner Bequest CVII 15–16, 21) can be seen crossing the Aire at left and atop the ridge is Armley Park, the estate of the wealthy Leeds cloth manufacturer Benjamin Gott (1762–1840).1 At top left is a slight sketch of the same view taken at a greater distance and inscribed ‘Old Wall at [...]’. Part of the Abbey nave is rendered at top right.
These sketches are associated with Turner’s watercolour of Kirkstall Abbey produced for W.B. Cooke’s Rivers of England series (Tate D18146; Turner Bequest CCVIII M and Tate impressions T04810, T04811, T06371).2 See also Tate D18390; Turner Bequest CCX 48.

Alice Rylance-Watson
February 2015

R. G. Wilson, ‘Gott, Benjamin (1762–1840)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004; online edn, May 2009, accessed 25 February 2015,
For more information see Alice Rylance-Watson, ‘Kirkstall Abbey, on the River Aire 1824 by Joseph Mallord William Turner’, catalogue entry, March 2013, in David Blayney Brown (ed.), J.M.W. Turner: Sketchbooks, Drawings and Watercolours, August 2014,

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