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This sketch records a distant view of Scarborough Castle (seen very faintly left of centre) looking north-east from the Malton and York road above the Weaponness Valley, about half a mile south-west of the present railway station and north of Scarborough Mere, and the first impression of Scarborough Castle when approaching from York. Turner sketched almost exactly the same view (with slightly more clarity of arrangement) in the Devonshire Rivers 3, Yorkshire, Wharfedale sketchbook (Tate D09866; Turner Bequest CXXXIV 65 q.v.) and in the Scarborough 1 sketchbook (Tate D11940; Turner Bequest CL 21), with almost exactly the same inscriptions, possibly on the same excursion.
This sketch is the first of a sequence of seven in the sketchbook extending to D11966; Turner Bequest CLI 13, in which Turner explored the Weaponness Valley at Scarborough, moving from inland towards the harbour. The Scarborough 1 sketchbook contains other sketches made in the same vicinity (Tate D11931, 11932; Turner Bequest CL 14, 15) exploring the valley towards Seamer, and these were all possibly made on the same trip.
The inscribed ‘169’ is the number given to the sketchbook in the original schedule of the Turner Bequest. It was presumably made when the leaf was removed for the exhibition of the verso (D11973) at the National Gallery (see catalogue notes). The paper has been somewhat darkened by exposure to light, except for a narrow margin at the edges, and there are patches of pale blue ?glue in each corner from a former mount.