Joseph Mallord William Turner

Worcester Cathedral from the River Severn


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 114 × 191 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCXXXIX 80 a

Catalogue entry

Inverted relative to the sketchbook’s foliation, the main view is to the north up the River Severn, with the tower of Worcester Cathedral at the centre; the spire of St Andrew’s Church and the tower of All Saints Church rise beyond. There are separate details of architecture at the top left and top right. The waterfront below the cathedral has since been cleared of various structures north of the surviving Watergate, as can be seen in comparison with a watercolour study by Joseph Farington (1747–1821) of about 1789 (Tate T08447); see also under folio 4 verso (D22157).
Augmented by details on adjacent pages, the present sketch and the more precise study on folio 83 verso (D22304; Turner Bequest CCXXXIX 82a) formed the basis of the watercolour Worcester of about 1834 (British Museum, London),1 engraved in 1835 for the Picturesque Views in England and Wales (Tate impression: T06117). The sailing boat below St Andrew’s and those in the foreground approximate to those developed in the finished design. See also the loose ‘colour beginning’ which has been linked to the subject (Tate D25158; Turner Bequest CCLXIII 36).
For other views of Worcester, see under folio 2 verso (D22154).

Matthew Imms
April 2014

Wilton 1979, p.401 no.862, reproduced; see also Shanes 1979, p.156, and Shanes 1990, p.286 note 185.

Read full Catalogue entry

You might like

In the shop