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

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner Wroxall Abbey: The House and Chapel 1830

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Folio 2 Recto:
Wroxall Abbey: The House and Chapel 1830
Turner Bequest CCXL 2
Pencil on white wove paper, 68 x 110 mm
Inscribed by Turner in pencil ‘Wroxal [sic]’ bottom right
Stamped in black ‘CCXL – 2’ bottom right
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
The Warwickshire hamlet of Wroxall lies on the main road between Warwick and the Solihull side of Birmingham, a few miles west of Kenilworth, with the Wroxall Abbey estate along the west side of the road. A half-timbered brick Tudor house, dating from soon after the dissolution of the priory, lay south of the surviving chapel with its square tower, but was demolished in 1861 before the construction of the present red brick Victorian house, now a hotel, west of the chapel. From 1713 it was the country estate of the renowned architect Sir Christopher Wren (1632–1723), and also has associations with Shakespeare’s family, as noted as by Dr Bernard Richards as part of unpublished Turner research informed by local knowledge.1 The chapel has recently been consecrated as ‘Wren’s Cathedral’ within the local Free Methodist Diocese of Wroxall Abbey.2
Turner appears to record two aspects of the house and chapel, with the gabled house and the chapel tower beyond in the rapidly sketched main view, and a smaller sketch bounded by pencil lines at the bottom centre, with only the tower clearly recognisable above what may be roofs and trees.
Conversation with the author, 14 May 2013.
For the history and family connections of the estate, including early photographs of the original house, see ‘History’ pages at Wren’s Cathedral, accessed 20 May 2013, http://www.wrenscathedral.org/; see also ‘History of Wroxall Estate’, Wroxall Abbey Estate, accessed 20 May 2013, http://www.wroxall.com/history.ikml?s=1 onwards.
Technical notes:
Turner wrote ‘Wroxall’ at the bottom right, but the corner was creased diagonally at the time with a small triangular portion of the verso (D22326) thus overlapping the present page, and the last ‘l’ strayed across the edge. Ruskin’s customary red ink number was also written while the corner was folded. The leaf was straightened out before the Turner Bequest number was stamped in the usual place at the bottom right of the recto, leaving Turner’s ‘l’ and Ruskin’s ‘2’ isolated at the bottom left of the verso.

Matthew Imms
August 2013

How to cite

Matthew Imms, ‘Wroxall Abbey: The House and Chapel 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-wroxall-abbey-the-house-and-chapel-r1148475, accessed 20 May 2022.