Harriet was one of the 11 children of Dawson Turner and Mary Palgrave, eight of whom (six daughters and two sons) survived infancy. Like her siblings, she learned to draw under John Sell Cotman, who was employed as the drawing master to the Turner household from 1812–23. It was remarked that the household more closely resembled a school. Their tuition helped the Turner children to assist their father with his research and to provide extra-illustrations for his publications and manuscripts. In 1830 Harriet married Rev. John Gunn, an antiquary and geologist, and went on to become an illustrator of repute, specialising in geological, architectural and ecclesiastical subjects.
This drawing is from the third of 29 volumes of prints and drawings collected by Dawson Turner to illustrate Blomefield's History of Norfolk, now at the British Library (Add MS 23024–23052). It shows the chancel of St Mary’s Church, Burgh next Aylsham (rather than St Mary the Virgin, Burgh St Peter), considered by Pevsner to be ‘one of the most ambitious Early English chancels of any Norfolk parish church’. Harriet’s charming drawing shows the 13th-century interior before it was restored in the 1870s.
- Article by:
- Ann Payne
Topographical artists, authors and collectors often concentrated on particular areas, as Ann Payne, former Curator of Manuscripts at the British Library explains.