Joseph Mallord William Turner

Fyrish Monument from the West, Evanton, Ross-shire

1831

In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Graphite on paper
Dimensions
Support: 180 x 224 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D34836
Turner Bequest CCCXLIV 353

Catalogue entry

This sketch depicts a landscape with a figure standing on a low hill at the left. David Wallace-Hadrill and Janet Carolan have suggested that the hill to the right is Cnoc Fyrish with the Fyrish Monument at its summit,1 making this a view from near Black Rock Gorge to the west. Turner made several sketches of the gorge on loose sheets of paper (see Tate D34791; Turner Bequest CCCLXIV d 324). There are boulders in the foreground of the sketch that are similar to some in the Black Rock Gorge sketches (Tate D34794; Turner Bequest CCCLXIV d 327), and the same figure, perhaps Hugh Munro of Novar (whom Turner was staying with at the time), also appears in some of those sketches (Tate D34792; Turner Bequest CCCLXIV d 325). The monument is depicted more clearly in several other sketches: Tate D34797, D34842, D34848 (Turner Bequest CCCLXIV d 330, 357 and 361).
There are two further sketches on the page. At the top left is the faint outline of a ridge of hills, presumably made nearby, and at the top right there is a sketch of a hill with water that may also be nearby. Turner wrote an inscription beneath the sketch which is unfortunately too faint to decipher in full, though it may be colour notes.
The position of the three sketches, and the way that the largest sketch stops neatly half-way across the page, suggest that the sheet was folded in half vertically when Turner drew on it, although there is no sign of the fold now.
1
Wallace-Hadrill and Carolan 1994, p.15.
Verso:
This page is almost blank but for a few vertical pencil lines at the top-left and faint lines at the bottom-left; these are scribbles rather than sketches.

Thomas Ardill
May 2010

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