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Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Graphite on paper
Dimensions
Support: 91 x 153 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D26959
Turner Bequest CCLXXV 3

Catalogue entry

As David Wallace-Hadrill and Janet Carolan have pointed out, the sketches of a ruin on the coast on the present page and folio 2 verso (D26958) resemble in some respect both Dunollie Castle near Oban, and Aros Castle on the Sound of Mull.1 In particular they resemble a small sketch inscribed ‘Aros’ in the Sound of Mull no.1 sketchbook (Tate D26954; Turner Bequest CCLXXIV 10a). All three sketches show a roughly square-shaped ruin on a headland with a pointed hill at the right, and further hills in the distance behind the castle.
If the subject is Aros Castle then it is out of sequence with the rest of the sketches in this book, falling between views made from near Arisaig and views of the approach to the Isle of Skye. As Aros Castle was the final subject that Turner drew in the Sound of Mull no.1 sketchbook, it is possible that, looking for some blank paper to make further sketches before he passed the castle, Turner found the Sound of Mull no.2 sketchbook and opened it at a random page, thus upsetting the order of the sketches that he went on to make as he approached Arisaig and Skye.

Thomas Ardill
March 2010

1
David Wallace–Hadrill and Janet Carolan, ‘Turner on the Isle of Skye 1831’, [circa 1991], Tate catalogue files, [folio 8].

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