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

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner Oxford: Canterbury Gate, Christ Church ?1799

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Oxford: Canterbury Gate, Christ Church ?1799
Turner Bequest XLVIII 5
Pencil and watercolour on white wove paper, 258 x 412 mm
Inscribed in pen and brown ink ‘96’ bottom left
Blind-stamped lower right with Turner Bequest monogram
Stamped in black ‘XLVIII – 5’ bottom right
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
This subject is one of the four that Turner produced in response to Lord Mansfield’s commission for views of Christ Church College (see under Tate D02364; Turner Bequest L W). Patrick Youngblood notes that the lighting scheme of this study is the reverse of the finished watercolour (private collection),1 in which the gate is fully lit, the interior of its central arch in shadow. He consequently doubts that the two are directly related;2 but it seems clear that, while Turner made numerous alterations to his design in the course of realising it (including, most conspicuously, the trees and buildings at the right), he did indeed develop the one from the other. He also presumably made use of a schematic sketch of the layout of the gate’s façade (Tate D08192; Turner Bequest CXIX E).
The other three Mansfield watercolours are Christ Church, Oxford, from near Carfax (National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa),3 Tom Tower from the Canons’ Garden (private collection)4 and Christ Church Hall from the Staircase (Leeds Art Gallery).5 For other preparatory drawings for the commission see the 1795 South Wales sketchbook (Tate D00659; Turner Bequest XXVI 97), and Tate D02348 and D02364 (Turner Bequest L G, W).
Andrew Wilton, J.M.W. Turner: His Life and Work, Fribourg 1979, p.334 no.306, reproduced.
See Youngblood 1984, p.12.
Wilton 1979, p.317 no.165, reproduced.
Not in ibid.; see Harrison 2000, p.101 no.24, fig.21.
Wilton 1979, p.334 no.305, reproduced.
Blank; stamped in brown ink with Turner Bequest monogram.

Andrew Wilton
May 2013

How to cite

Andrew Wilton, ‘Oxford: Canterbury Gate, Christ Church ?1799 by Joseph Mallord William Turner’, catalogue entry, May 2013, in David Blayney Brown (ed.), J.M.W. Turner: Sketchbooks, Drawings and Watercolours, Tate Research Publication, May 2016, https://www.tate.org.uk/art/research-publications/jmw-turner/joseph-mallord-william-turner-oxford-canterbury-gate-christ-church-r1180261, accessed 24 May 2022.