Discover Turner's Yorkshire

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  • Ripon Cathedral & Bell Banks (Sharow)

    Turner visited Ripon at least twice in 1797 when making his first tour of Yorkshire and again in 1816 when making illustrations for Whitaker's history of York series.

    Ripon Minster, not yet a Cathedral at the time of Turner's visits, was the focus of his sketches of Ripon.  Dominating the Ripon skyline, this wonderfully atmospheric building continues to inspire, with the likes of Lewis Carroll and Wilfred Owen enthused following their visits.

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  • Rotherham Minster (Church of All Saints)

    Rotherham was one of the initial places visited by Turner during his first tour of Yorkshire in 1797. His sketch there of the Chantry Chapel and All Saints Church was his first large one of this tour and Turner must have considered it an important subject, and he hardly surpassed it for care, attention and perfection of arrangement in any of the subjects that followed. It seems clear that he was seriously considering this for a finished composition.

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  • Scarborough

    Turner's first trip to Scarborough was in 1801 en route to Scotland, while his second visit was about 1816 when he was collecting material for Whitaker's history series.

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  • Scarborough Castle

    Turner was clearly fond of Scarborough, Britain's first seaside resort. The number of sketches and watercolours for one area, all of which centred on Scarborough Castle, is one of the highest for any site in his oeuvre. Towering over the clifftops, the castle has a colourful history, starting life as an Iron Age Fort, being occupied by the Romans, becoming a Viking settlement and reaching its heyday under Henry II.

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  • Semer Water

    Turner visited Semerwater, the largest natural lake in North Yorkshire, on 26 July 1816 when making illustrations for 'A General History of the County of York' by Thomas Dunham Whitaker.

    Turner travelled over the Stake Pass route from Upper Wharfedale to Askrigg, stopping at Semerwater on the way.  He was alone, on horseback, and travelling in one of the wettest summers on meteorological record. It may have been a wet summer, but Turner's spirits were not dampened at all. He revelled in the ever changing and vital effects of light and atmosphere that the season constantly provided.

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  • Skipton Castle

    Turner visited Skipton twice, initially on 17 July 1816 on the first day of his grand tour.  He was travelling with his friend Walter Fawkes of Farnley Hall near Otley and the Fawkes family accompanied Turner on the first week of the tour. They all stayed in Skipton on the first night and Turner went out to explore and make small sketches in his pocketbook, looking for the best view from which to make a watercolour.

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  • South Bank, Richmond

    South Bank is a lovely area of open fields below Priory Villas, south of the River Swale, between the waterfalls and Mercury Bridge (also known as Station Bridge).

    Turner stayed in Richmond twice. During Turner's first visit in 1797, his exposure to the northern landscape and weather began to transform him from architectural draftsman to poet of the landscape sublime.

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  • Spofforth Castle

    Turner visited Spofforth Castle twice, during 1797 and again in 1816 when making illustrations for Whitaker's grand history of York series. His first visit was as part of an excursion from nearby Harewood House, where he was staying as the guest of the Earl of Harewood.

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  • St Agatha's Abbey, Easby

    Easby Abbey was a Premonstratensian or White Canons house, now notable for its lavish roof-height refectory of c.1300 and other monastic buildings. Within the precinct is the still-active parish church of St Agatha, displaying fine 13th century wall paintings.

    Turner visited the Abbey of St Agatha, Easby twice, as part of his two trips to Richmond in 1797 and 1816. On both visits Turner seems to have stayed in nearby Richmond, and enjoyed the walk of about a mile along the banks of the River Swale downstream to the abbey.

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  • St Mary's Abbey, York

    Turner visited York several times, with major sketching visits in 1797 during his first tour of Yorkshire and in 1816 during his tour when making illustrations for Whitaker, as well as other trips to the city. Although he made only one finished watercolour, he made numerous highly detailed pencil sketches, many of great significance, including the important historic site of St Mary's Abbey.

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