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Revd Joseph Turner’s antiquarian sketches in the Royal Irish Academy collection comprise 55 antiquarian watercolours of castles, churches, etc., from various Irish counties throughout Leinster, Munster and Ulster (RIA, MS 3 C 33).

The sketches were executed in 1799 and are thought to comprise copies of drawings that had been collected by William Burton Conyngham (1733–96). The collection includes copies of works by a wide variety of eighteenth-century artists including George Barret, Gabriel Beranger, Angelo Maria Bigari, John Dawson, Jonathan Fisher, Seymour Foster, Henry Graham, Thomas Ivory, Henry Pelham, and Charles Vallancey.

In the days before photography albums of sketches like these were highly sought-after by those with an interest in Irish antiquities. They would have formed attractive additions to many gentry libraries in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.

The collection of Joseph Turner’s antiquarian sketches has been digitised, and the individual sketches are catalogued in the Royal Irish Academy online catalogue of prints, drawings and artefacts. The catalogue has a thumbnail image of each drawing.

Further reading

Royal Irish Academy online catalogue of Prints and Drawings