Turner first started travelling on sketching tours in 1790.

During these, Turner would make topographical drawings of picturesque and architectural subjects, views, and landscapes which he would either sell to engravers or work up into watercolours. His sketch books from 1792 to 1800 are largely collections of architectural outlines, noting the appearance of buildings, individually or in groups, like this example of Brinkburn Priory. This pencil drawing was sketched on the spot. It is an interesting and accurate record of the manor house and ruined priory church before their nineteenth-century renovations. The lancet windows of the transept and choir, the line of the pitched roof of the south transept, and the squat tower can clearly be seen rising in dramatic perspective above the banks of the river Coquet.

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