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

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner Coventry from the North 1830

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Folio 13 Verso:
Coventry from the North 1830
Turner Bequest CCXL 13a
Pencil on white wove paper, 68 x 110 mm
Inscribed by Turner in pencil ‘[?Canal Basin]’ below centre
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
The subject was initially identified as ‘Coventry’ by A.J. Finberg (died 1939) and the watercolour and Turner scholar C.F. Bell (died 1966) in undated manuscript notes in copies of Finberg’s 1909 Inventory.1 Eric Shanes confirmed the subject,2 in general relation to Turner’s watercolour Coventry of about 1832 (British Museum, London),3 engraved in 1833 for the Picturesque Views in England and Wales (Tate impression: T06105).
Inverted relative to the sketchbook’s foliation, there are two views here, and a further detail at the top right. The main view appears to be continued to the right on folio 10 verso (D22338), the versos in between having already been drawn on. The juxtaposition of Coventry’s three spires (St Michael’s and Holy Trinity with Christchurch beyond from left to right) indicates a view south to the city, from an area now much changed. The bridge on the right is possibly that carrying New Buildings over the River Sherbourne, long since covered over, although Turner may have noted the spot for a ‘Canal Basin’. The viewpoint appears to be off Hales Street near Swanswell Pool (see folio 16 recto; D22349), in the vicinity of the complex of slip-roads joining the Whitefriars section of the Ringway flyover.4
There is a similar sketch on folio 14 recto opposite (D22345) and a view from nearby on folios 16verso–17 recto (D22350, D22351). For other Coventry subjects, see under folio 9 verso (D22336).

Matthew Imms
August 2013

A.J. Finberg, undated MS notes in a copy of Finberg 1909, Tate Britain Prints and Drawings Room, vol.II, p.738; C.F. Bell, undated MS notes in another copy at the same location, vol.II, p.738.
Shanes 1979, p.156.
Andrew Wilton, J.M.W. Turner: His Life and Work, Fribourg 1979, p.399 no.849, reproduced.
See successive historical street maps, [Rob Orland], Historic Coventry, accessed 1 July 2013, http://www.historiccoventry.co.uk/covmaps/allmaps.php.

How to cite

Matthew Imms, ‘Coventry from the North 1830 by Joseph Mallord William Turner’, catalogue entry, August 2013, in David Blayney Brown (ed.), J.M.W. Turner: Sketchbooks, Drawings and Watercolours, Tate Research Publication, September 2014, https://www.tate.org.uk/art/research-publications/jmw-turner/joseph-mallord-william-turner-coventry-from-the-north-r1148494, accessed 20 May 2022.