Turner's Watercolour of Lichfield Cathedral Sold at Sotheby's Auction House

Thursday July 13 2017

A rare watercolour painting by renowned Romanticist artist JMW Turner bequeathed to Lichfield Cathedral has been sold at London’s famed Sotheby’s auction house.

The magnificent painting, which depicts the three-spired medieval structure soaring above Minster Pool as a storm approaches, was painted by Turner following his visit to Lichfield during a tour of the Midlands in 1830. It has been confined to private collections since the influential painter’s death in 1851, until it was left as a legacy to Lichfield Cathedral last year.

All proceeds from the sale will go towards the upkeep and maintenance of the historic building, which welcomes 120,000 visitors each year.

Turner’s watercolour, which went on public display at the cathedral earlier this year, was auctioned at Sotheby’s in London on Wednesday 5th July, where it was sold to the highest bidder for an incredible £310,000, thereby exceeding its estimate of £300,000.

Helen Geary, Director of Fundraising at Lichfield Cathedral, says: “Legacies of all sizes have made a tremendous difference to the cathedral and we are absolutely thrilled with the amount raised by the sale. The story of Turner’s painting will no doubt become an enduring part of the cathedral’s history for centuries to come.

“It costs £5,000 per day to keep the cathedral open and free to visitors, and the funds raised from this sale will be a huge help in preserving the building for future generations.”

The Very Reverend Adrian Dorber, Dean of Lichfield Cathedral, adds: “To receive such an extraordinary legacy is something that happens only once in a lifetime.

“Our donor’s generosity has not only helped us meet the ongoing challenges of securing this unique historic cathedral for the next generation, but has also seen us welcome 20,000 visitors to the city to see our temporary exhibition Mr Turner Comes to Lichfield. We hope the new owners will enjoy this beautiful painting every bit as much as we have.”

Lichfield Cathedral is presenting an exciting calendar of events throughout the summer, including the Great Exhibition between Saturday 19th and Saturday 26th August. From the creators of the award-winning Cathedral Illuminated, this spectacular visual journey takes visitors across earth, sea and sky through stunning light and sound projections.

To find out more about any upcoming events at Lichfield Cathedral, please call 01543 306100, email info@lichfield-cathedral.org or visit www.lichfield-cathedral.org.