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This view of the Bass Rock is taken from the west, presumably from a boat, and is one of many studies of the island that Turner made in preparation for his illustration to Scott’s Provincial Antiquities: Bass Rock, circa 1824 (watercolour, Lady Lever Art Gallery, Port Sunlight).1 The viewpoint is similar to the one on the previous page of this sketchbook (folio 37 verso; D13386; CLXV 37a), and shows the rock with its fortifications on the left. The various sketches concentrate on different aspects of the subject, and in this one Turner is interested in recording the shape of the steep edges of the island by adding shading and other small details. Turner’s Bass Rock is a composite of various different studies from 1818 and 1822, drawing on information from each to recreate the subject in watercolour back in the studio.
Wilton 1979, p.426 no.1069.