Joseph Mallord William Turner

Dunblane Cathedral from the North


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

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 113 x 190 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCLXIX 58

Catalogue entry

On this page are two views of Dunblane Cathedral as seen from the north. The main sketch which fills most of the page shows the building with its prominent bell tower just to the right of centre, with rooftops and trees in the foreground and hills in the distance. This sketch is likely to have been made from the top of Braeport, a street that runs north and up the hill from the castle.
Boxed-off at the bottom right of the page is another, more distant view from the north with the cathedral drawn in outline at the right. David Wallace-Hadrill and Janet Carolan have described how ‘Turner, having surrounded this sketch with a pencilled line, extended the containing rim to the left in order to push our [sic] further the hills on that side, providing a better balance with the tower at the other end of the picture.’1 They also noticed a similar concern for composition in the first sketch. ‘The interest of the sketch lies not in the [cathedral] building itself but in its relation to hills in the background and roofs and trees in the foreground.’2
There is another view of the cathedral from the north on folio 57 verso (D26368). Having made these sketches Turner made a series of views of the Cathedral from the Allan Water to the south, folios 58 verso; D26370, before heading west to Doune where he made a final view of the castle (folio 59; D26371). For more information see folio 57.

Thomas Ardill
October 2010

Wallace-Hadrill and Carolan 1990, Vol.10 No.2, Winter 1990, p.28.

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