Turner was clearly impressed, for the following year he chose to exhibit a view of the porch of the priory as one of his five submissions to the Royal Academy exhibition. His pictures attracted (for the first time) the attention of the critics and the Morning Post called them ‘among the best in the present exhibition: they are the productions of a very young artist, and give strong indications of first-rate ability; the character of Gothic architect is most happily presented, and its profusion of minute parts massed with judgment and tinctured with truth and fidelity…’1
As a possible pendant to the above mentioned ‘The Porch’, Turner also painted a second work which depicts the same view as the present lot. That work was not exhibited at the Royal Academy and like The Porch it is now in the collection of the Whitworth Museum in Manchester.2 Perhaps spurred on by the positive reviews or perhaps having received a commission, Turner painted two further watercolours of these subjects: the present work, which contains subtle compositional changes to the foreground details compared to the Whitworth version and a watercolour that was sold at Christie’s, London 5 July 2016, lot 94 (£85,000). Both these works were once part of the Ashton collection in Hyde, Cheshire. We are grateful to Ian Warrell for his help when cataloguing this lot.
1. C. Nugent and M. Croal, Turner Watercolours from Manchester, Manchester 1997, p. 30
2. A. Wilton, op. cit., p. 306, nos. 49 & 51
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