Joseph Mallord William Turner

Coastline with Tantallon Castle

1818

View this artwork by appointment, at Tate Britain's Prints and Drawings Rooms

Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Graphite on paper
Dimensions
Support: 99 x 159 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D13381
Turner Bequest CLXV 34

Catalogue entry

The ruin and rocky headland depicted here in two faint and slightly smudged drawings could be one of two views. Finberg identified it as the ‘Ruins of Dunbar’,1 an identification that David Wallace Hadrill agreed with,2 and one that is plausible if compared to other drawings of the ruinous castle (e.g. folio 23 verso; D13346; CLXV 23a). However, another view sketched by Turner elsewhere in this book is perhaps more convincing. Sketches on folios 6 verso and 33 verso (D13332, D18880; CLXV 6a, 33a) depict Tantallon Castle above a rocky headland that is just to its north, and both look very similar to the view on this page. The ruin, though faint, is probably closer to the shape of Tantallon, especially in the upper sketch, and the absence of the distinctive ruinous tower shape in both sketches suggests that this is not Dunbar.

Thomas Ardill
October 2007

1
Finberg 1909, I, p.479, CLXV 34.
2
David Wallace-Hadrill, unpublished notes, [circa 1990–2], Tate catalogue files.

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