J.M.W. Turner: Sketchbooks, Drawings and Watercolours

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner A Gothic Nave: ?Basle Cathedral 1802

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Folio 43 Recto:
A Gothic Nave: ?Basle Cathedral 1802
Turner Bequest LXXVII 43
Pencil on white wove paper, 154 x 240 mm
Inscribed probably by John Ruskin in red ink ‘43’ bottom right
Inscribed in an unknown hand in ink ‘190’ (within a circle) bottom right
Stamped in black ‘LXXVII – 43’ bottom right
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
The subject has long been unidentified, recognition being hampered by the mixture of Swiss, French and English subjects in the sketchbook and the break-up of their original sequence. However, to the present author this Gothic nave looks like that of Basle cathedral. Turner passed through Basle on his way along the Rhine back towards France and drew the outside of the cathedral on the Swiss bank of the river on folio 40 of this sketchbook (D04783). This is the only church interior drawn by Turner during his tour in 1802, although he visited many cities with notable Gothic churches, including Strasbourg after which this sketchbook was partly named.

David Blayney Brown
March 2004

How to cite

David Blayney Brown, ‘A Gothic Nave: ?Basle Cathedral 1802 by Joseph Mallord William Turner’, catalogue entry, March 2004, in David Blayney Brown (ed.), J.M.W. Turner: Sketchbooks, Drawings and Watercolours, Tate Research Publication, December 2012, https://www.tate.org.uk/art/research-publications/jmw-turner/joseph-mallord-william-turner-a-gothic-nave-basle-cathedral-r1133490, accessed 25 June 2019.