Joseph Mallord William Turner R.A. 1775-1851
- Joseph Mallord William Turner R.A.
Wells Cathedral, South Wales
Purchased from P. & D. Colnaghi & Co., London, 1951
Turner's Welsh tours began modestly with short trips to the Wye valley and mid Wales in 1792 and to the Dee valley in 1794. The present drawing, however, dates from his first comprehensive tour of South Wales in 1795. His work from this trip is well documented in two sketchbooks, the Smaller South Wales (Finberg XXV) and South Wales (Finberg XXVI) sketchbooks.
The South Wales tour began at Wells, then continued back to Bristol and on to Newport, Swansea, Neath, Cardiff and Pembrokeshire; returning via Brecon and Monmouth. Turner was following an itinerary written out in the front of his larger sketchbook, to which he added his own notes. The furthest point he reached in Wales was St David's.
The present drawing of Wells Cathedral is the same size as those in his South Wales sketchbook. It can be closely compared in style to his view of the South West front of Wells Cathedral (T.B., XXV-4; D00554). Both drawings are lightly executed in pencil and his finely detailed depiction of the architecture of Wells Cathedral and his dot-dash style is reminiscent of Girtin