Turner at Lichfield
LICHFIELD CATHEDRAL is happy in its admirers, one of whom has just given it a splendid Turner watercolour, which is the focus of an exhibition, ‘Mr Turner comes to Lichfield’ in the Chapter House to June 11, and which will then be sold at Sotheby’s on July 5 to boost the building’s funds.
The watercolour (above), painted in 1832, was the product of Turner’s tour of the Midlands in 1830, but he also used pencil sketches dating back to his first visit to Lichfield in 1794. Two sketchbooks, two individual sketches and a watercolour study from 1830 have been lent by the Tate for the show. They have almost certainly never been together since they were all in Turner’s studio in the 1830s and, touchingly, one of the 1794 drawings has splashes of watercolour on it, surely dating from the day on which he was painting the finished version.
There are also 17 works showing the cathedral by other artists, including a 1794 drawing by Turner’s friend Thomas Girtin. That has been lent by local antiques dealer Jonathan Coulborn, the others belong to the cathedral or are loans from private collectors. A treat indeed. Opening hours are 10am to 4pm on Monday to Saturday, 12.15pm to 14.15pm on Sundays. Huon Mallalieu