Salisbury Cathedral Interior, looking towards the North Transept

c.1801–5

By J M W Turner

The complicated perspectives in this view of the Cathedral’s interior, combined with the recreation of structural detail, make this one of Turner’s greatest architectural watercolours. A newly discovered bill indicates that he was at work on it by 1801, though it was not delivered to Colt Hoare until 1805. During these years Turner was elected a full Royal Academician, which enabled him to add the initials ‘RA’ when inscribing his name in the foreground. The procession Turner shows makes its way through a screen, or pulpitum, that closed off the Choir.  This was built by James Wyatt to support a new organ presented by George III. Tastes change, and the screen was later removed; the organ is now in St Thomas’s Church.

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Of particular significance in the collection are the relics of the ancient guilds of Salisbury.

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