Joseph Mallord William TurnerBen Arthur from Arrochar, Loch Long 1831

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Artwork details

Ben Arthur from Arrochar, Loch Long
From Stirling and the West Sketchbook
Turner Bequest CCLXX
Date 1831
MediumGraphite on paper
Dimensionssupport: 201 x 125 mm
Acquisition Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCLXX 62
View this artwork by appointment, at Tate Britain's Prints and Drawings Rooms

Catalogue entry

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Folio 62 Recto:
Ben Arthur from Arrochar, Loch Long 1831
Turner Bequest CCLXX 62
Pencil on white wove paper, 201 x 125 mm
Inscribed in pencil by Turner ‘Arthr’ top left and ‘Arrh’ beneath the top sketch
Inscribed in red ink by John Ruskin ‘62’ top left inverted
Stamped in black ‘CCLXX – 62’ top left inverted
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
The sketches across folio 61 verso (D26557) and the present page were made from Arrochar at the north-east end of Loch Long, and look west across the loch to the summit of Ben Arthur.1 Turner had rounded the western and southern foot of ‘the Cobbler’ (as it is also known) as he passed through Glen Croe on his journey from Loch Fyne, and ascended the eastern slope before continuing to Arrochar (see folio 17 verso; D26469, and Tour of Scotland for Scott’s Poetical Works 1831 Tour Introduction). Before boarding a steamboat to take him back down the length of the loch, Turner turned back to the Cobbler and made these sketches.
At the tail of the page, made with the sketchbook inverted, are two small sketches, the first of which is helpfully labelled ‘Arthr’. This shows the distinctive rocky outcrop at the summit of the mountain. Beneath this the second sketch concentrates on the southern peak of the mountain, another outcrop of rock. This is reminiscent of the peak in a watercolour of the mountain that Turner made in the Tummel Bridge sketchbook in 1801 (Tate D03293; Turner Bequest LVII 9). David Wallace-Hadrill has read a scribble beneath this sketch as ‘Arrh’, standing for Arrochar.2 With the sketchbook turned to the right is a very rough sketch of the profile of a mountain, although it is not distinct enough to be identifiable.
There are two further sketches of Ben Arthur as seen from Arrochar on folio 61 verso, and in the Loch Long sketchbook (Tate D26632–D26635; Turner Bequest CCLXXI 7a–9). See folio 33 (D26500), for references to all of Turner’s sketches of the mountain made during this tour.

Thomas Ardill
October 2009

David Wallace-Hadrill and Janet Carolan, ‘Turner Round the Clyde and in Islay – 1831’, 1991, Tate catalogue files, folio 7

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