Turner at Lich­field

Country Life Every Week - - Town & Country -

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

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