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

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner Oxford: The Entrance to Christ Church Hall c.1799

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Oxford: The Entrance to Christ Church Hall c.1799
Turner Bequest L W
Pencil on white laid paper, 792 x 236 mm
Watermark: horn in escutcheon
Inscribed in red ink ‘L.W.’ bottom right
Stamped in black ‘L – W’ bottom right
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner was asked to paint four views of Christ Church, Oxford, for an alumnus of the college, William Murray, Viscount Stormont. Stormont went down in 1796, in which year he succeeded his father as third Earl of Mansfield. That seems the likely date of the commission, though Turner’s drawings evidently took some while to complete. One relevant study, showing Christ Church and St Aldate’s from near Carfax, occurs in the 1795 South Wales sketchbook (Tate D00659; Turner Bequest XXVI 97).
This drawing, which shows the doorway into the Hall partially bricked up with scaffolding in front of it, must have been made while James Wyatt’s alterations were being carried out in 1799–1800. Turner used it as the basis for his watercolour executed for Mansfield (Leeds Art Gallery).1 See also the study of Christ Church’s Canterbury Gate (Tate D08192; Turner Bequest CXIX E). What was originally the other half of the present sheet (Tate D02363; Turner Bequest L V) shows another view of the college.
Andrew Wilton, J.M.W. Turner: His Life and Work, Fribourg 1979, p.334 no.305, reproduced.
Blank; stamped in brown ink with Turner Bequest monogram (almost invisible).

Andrew Wilton
March 2013

How to cite

Andrew Wilton, ‘Oxford: The Entrance to Christ Church Hall c.1799 by Joseph Mallord William Turner’, catalogue entry, March 2013, in David Blayney Brown (ed.), J.M.W. Turner: Sketchbooks, Drawings and Watercolours, Tate Research Publication, April 2015, https://www.tate.org.uk/art/research-publications/jmw-turner/joseph-mallord-william-turner-oxford-the-entrance-to-christ-church-hall-r1174108, accessed 21 October 2021.