The Journey North

Wednesday 22 to Friday 24 July 1829

Map of Mendelssohn's Journey from London to Scotland

Mendelssohn and Klingemann set out on their journey to Scotland on Wednesday 22 July 1829, travelling north by stagecoach via York where Mendelssohn stopped to sketch the Minster, and Durham where he sketched the Cathedral.

The view that he sketched in York is still just available to a modern traveller from the second floor of Betty’s Café Tea Rooms in St Helen’s Square! This floor is not open to the public and I am grateful to the management of Betty’s for allowing me access to film Mendelssohn’s view.

York Minster

York, Thursday 23 July 1829 (from Davygate): a view of the Minster from the South-West, past the lantern of St Helen’s Church.
Bodleian sketchbook. 6r

There are two sketches of Durham Cathedral, one from the south-east:

Durham Cathedral 1829 - View from the East

Durham Cathedral, Friday 24 July 1829, a view of the Cathedral from the South-East.

Bodleian sketchbook. 8r

And a second from the south-west:

Durham Cathedral 1829 - View from the South West

Durham Cathedral, Friday 24 July 1829, a view of the Cathedral from the South-West, from the far bank of the river.

Bodleian sketchbook. 10r

An example of Mendelssohn’s skill as an artist of great accomplishment can be seen from this sketch that he worked up into a full watercolour painting in the following year, 1830:

Durham Cathedral, watercolour by Felix Mendelssohn

Durham Cathedral, watercolour by Felix Mendelssohn.

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