Joseph Mallord William Turner

Loch Lomond; Skerry Island; and the Sound of Islay


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

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 125 x 201 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCLXX 84

Catalogue entry

At the top of this page is a sketch inscribed ‘Lomond’ which depicts Ben Lomond from a point on Loch Lomond near Luss. The island in the foreground is likely to be Inchlonaig. Turner made a very similar view in the Loch Long sketchbook (Tate D26652; Turner Bequest CCLXXI 17a). He had several opportunities to make the sketch as he steamed up and around the head of the loch on his way to Inversnaid (Tate D26617; Turner Bequest CCLXX 92), or on his return down the loch after visiting the lochs to the east. See Tour of Scotland for Scott’s Poetical Work 1831 Tour Introduction for more information.
Across the centre of the page is a sketch of an island inscribed ‘Skerry Island’. The word skerry refers to a small, uninhabited island and is often written as ‘sgeir’ in Scottish Gaelic. There are several small islands with ‘Sgeir’ in their name off the island of Gigha which Turner passed on his way to Islay, so this is one possibility for the identity of this sketch.
At the bottom of the page is a sketch that David Wallace-Hadrill and Janet Carolan have identified as a view across the Sound of Islay, from Port Askaig on Islay to Jura with the mountain peaks of the Paps of Jura prominent at the centre of the sketch.1 Turner has sketched the clouds in the sky and written colour notes (‘gold’, ‘grey’, ‘red’) that suggest this view looking east was made around sunrise. See folio 37 verso (D26509) for references to further sketches of Port Askaig.

Thomas Ardill
June 2010

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

Read full Catalogue entry


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