Joseph Mallord William Turner

Tynemouth Priory: Part of the Ruins


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 270 × 210 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest XXXIV 33

Catalogue entry

Tynemouth Priory, founded probably by St Edwin of Northumbria early in the seventh century, expanded round the shrine of St Oswin, murdered in 651. The target of frequent Danish raids, it was protected by a substantial castle, the ruins of which form part of the striking group of remains still visible on the headland, Pen Bal Crag, at the mouth of the Tyne. This drawing shows a glimpse of the east end of the priory church, seen through the arch of the ruined south aisle.
David Hill notes that there is a discrepancy in Turner’s rendering of the mouldings of the archway, which have four colonettes (as shown on the right), rather than three (as indicated on the left). Similar in handling, and in its half-completed state, to the study of Huby’s Tower at Fountains Abbey in the Tweed and Lakes sketchbook (Tate D01082; Turner Bequest XXXV 80), this sheet demonstrates Turner’s delight in the play of sunlight on decaying masonry, a delight made more intense by the contrast between delicate colour washes and unadorned pencil outline. Another view of Tynemouth Priory in this sketchbook is a general view from the southern shore of Prior’s Haven on folio 37 recto (D00942; Turner Bequest XXXIV 35).
Blank; stamped in brown ink with Turner Bequest monogram.

Andrew Wilton
January 2013

Read full Catalogue entry

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