In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Graphite on paper
Dimensions
Support: 125 x 201 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D26469
Turner Bequest CCLXX 17 a

Catalogue entry

Turner inscribed this page ‘Loch Long’ and it contains two views of the western shore of the loch. David Wallace-Hadrill and Janet Carolan have identified these as the view north up the loch to the head (at the top) and the Clach Bheinn promontory at the junction of Loch Long and Loch Goil (at the bottom).1 The sketch towards the fore-edge of the page must therefore have been made from about halfway between the junction of Loch Long and Loch Goil and the promontory of Ardgartan. Facing due north we look towards the mountains along the west side of the loch which include Cnoc Coinnich, the Brack and Ben Arthur. The sketch at the bottom of the page towards the gutter was made from directly to the east of the southern point of the Ardgoil Peninsula (also called Argyll’s Bowling Green), and looks west towards the hills of Clach Bheinn and Tom Molach. These hills are reflected in the water below, with the mouth of Loch Goil at the left.
According to the inventory that Wallace-Hadrill and Carolan have proposed, Turner visited Loch Long in 1831 as part of a round trip by steamboat and coach. According to this inventory, Turner went halfway up the loch to Loch Goil, went up to Loch Goilhead, travelling by coach to St Catherine’s on the eastern shore of Loch Fyne, and went by ferry across the loch to Inveraray. He then travelled around the head of Loch Fyne and went by road from Cairndow to the head of Loch Long via Glen Kinglas, Rest and be Thankful and Glen Croe. From Arrochar at the north end of the loch he returned south down its length by steamer.2 The first leg of the tour to Inveraray apparently took seven hours.3 Turner may therefore have been able to complete the trip in one arduous day, or he could have stopped at Inveraray and done it in two days. For more information see Tour of Scotland for Scott’s Poetical Works 1831 Tour Introduction.
The two sketches shown here seem to have been made on the return leg of the journey, as the first was made from north of the junction of Loch Long and Loch Goil. Folios 18 and 18 verso (D26470, D26471) contain sketches made nearby, and there is a sketch on folio 67 (D26568) inscribed ‘L Lo’ which may show the head of Loch Long, though Loch Lomond is another possibility.

Thomas Ardill
October 2009

1
David Wallace-Hadrill and Janet Carolan, ‘Turner Round the Clyde and in Islay – 1831’, 1991, Tate catalogue files, folio 7.
2
Wallace-Hadrill and Carolan 1991, folios 5–7.
3
Ibid.

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