Joseph Mallord William Turner

Wells: The South West Tower of the Cathedral from the Cloisters


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Support: 205 × 130 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest XXV 4

Catalogue entry

Turner’s approach to the rendering of complex Gothic architecture had been much refined and practised with his studies of Lichfield, Ely and Cambridge in the course of the 1794 Midland tour, covered elsewhere in the present catalogue. Here, in a sheet that Ruskin singled out for display, the intricacy of Wells’s cloisters, dating from the early fifteenth century, and the fifteenth-century upper section of the south west tower, are juxtaposed with the early fourteenth-century nave in the clear-sighted and direct recording style that he had now mastered.
Technical notes:
Part of John Ruskin’s inscription on his wrapper for the sketchbook, recorded by Finberg, read ‘5 leaves taken out which were burnt at the edge’;1 this refers to folios 1 recto–5 recto (D00462–D00466).
The leaf is discoloured from long exposure while on display. The last digit of Ruskin’s ‘29[5]’ is missing owing to loss at that corner but can be deduced from similar inscriptions on preceding pages, such as folio 3 recto (D00464).
Finberg 1909, I, p.43; see also p.44.
Blank; stamped in brown ink with Turner Bequest monogram.

Andrew Wilton
April 2012

Read full Catalogue entry

You might like

In the shop