Joseph Mallord William Turner

Craigmillar Castle


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

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 112 x 186 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CLXVII 67 a

Catalogue entry

This sketch of Craigmillar Castle is one of three drawings of the castle in the sketchbook (see folio 73 verso for more information; D13743; CLXVII 85a). This view is from the south and looks towards the central L-plan Tower House section of the castle, which was its original structure built around 1400. On the right and left of the tower are the East and West ranges which were later additions. There is a wooded area at the south of the castle so we look through the trees in the drawing, some of which have been sketched very faintly so that they do not obstruct the architectural details of the castle. In the middle of the wood Turner has noted a ‘pond’, and beyond them the castle’s curtain ‘wall’.
Although Turner did not work up any of these sketches into a watercolour design for the Provincial Antiquities, he did use the present drawing as the basis for a vignette to illustrate Sir Walter Scott’s Tales of a Grandfather, in Volume XXIII of his collected Prose Works, 1834–6.1 Turner made further sketches of Craigmillar in 1834 (Tate D25968–D25970, D25972; CCLXVII 23–24, 25), but returned to the present 1818 sketch, rather than using an 1834 drawing (D25971, CCLXVII 24a) as Wilton has suggested.2

Thomas Ardill
March 2008

W[illiam] G[eorge] Rawlinson, The Engraved Work of J.M.W. Turner, R.A., London 1908 and 1913, vol.I, p.294 no.546.
Andrew Wilton, J.M.W. Turner: His Life and Work, Fribourg 1979, p.433 under cat.1123.

Read full Catalogue entry


You might like