Turner painted this atmospheric view of the High Street in Oxford as a commission for the Oxford frame-maker and print seller James Wyatt.

The extensive correspondence between the artist and patron survives. Wyatt paid Turner 100 guineas for the work, which was completed in March 1810. It was exhibited in Wyatt’s shop at 115 High Street before being shown in Turner’s own gallery in London, and at the Royal Academy in 1812. Turner studied as an architectural draughtsman and his skill in this area is evident in his accurate depictions of the historic buildings in the street. High Street, Oxford is regarded as one of the finest of Turner’s many views of the city. Most notable of these are the 10 earlier watercolours which have belonged to the Ashmolean since 1850. High Street, Oxford, on loan to the museum since 1997, now joins them as the first oil painting by Turner officially to enter the collection.

Provenance

Commissioned byJames Wyatt; Jesse Watts Russell; sold Christie's, 1875; bought by the dealers, Agnew's; from whom bought by Samuel Jones Loyd, LordOverstone; his daughter, Harriet; her cousin, Arthur Thomas Loyd; his son, Christopher Lewis Loyd.


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