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

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner View of Oxford; Detail of the Radcliffe Observatory 1839

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Folio 22 Recto:
View of Oxford; Detail of the Radcliffe Observatory 1839
Turner Bequest CCLXXXIX 22
Pencil on white wove drawing paper, 140 x 235 mm
Inscribed in red ink ‘22’ bottom right
Stamped in black ‘CCLXXXIX–22’ bottom right
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Drawn inversely relative to the foliation, this panorama of Oxford is continued from the folio opposite (Tate D28333; Turner Bequest CCLXXXIX 21a). The view is taken from the west of the city at the village of North Hinksey. This part of the prospect encompasses All Souls College, St Mary’s Church, and the Radcliffe Camera.
Turner has also made a small jotting of the Radcliffe Observatory, the astronomical observatory of the University of Oxford from 1773 to 1934.1 The Observer’s House was built to the designs of the architect Henry Keene (1726–1776) with the remaining building constructed under James Wyatt (1746–1813).2 The latter based his designs for the observatory on the Tower of the Winds, an octagonal marble clock tower on the Agora in Athens.3 The ornament which crowns the building (represented in the present drawing as a simple circle) is a celestial globe by the English sculptor John Charles Felix Rossi (1762–1839) modelled on the Farnese Atlas.4

Alice Rylance-Watson
August 2013

‘The Radcliffe Observatory’, Green Templeton College, Oxford, http://www.gtc.ox.ac.uk/about-gtc/history-and-architecture/the-radcliffe-observatory.html, accessed 14 August 2013.
‘The Sculpted Figures’, Green Templeton College, Oxford, http://www.gtc.ox.ac.uk/about-gtc/history-and-architecture/the-radcliffe-observatory/sculpted-figures.html, accessed 14 August 2013.

How to cite

Alice Rylance-Watson, ‘View of Oxford; Detail of the Radcliffe Observatory 1839 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, November 2014, https://www.tate.org.uk/art/research-publications/jmw-turner/joseph-mallord-william-turner-view-of-oxford-detail-of-the-radcliffe-observatory-r1150614, accessed 30 May 2020.