Joseph Mallord William Turner

Roslin 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 90 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CLXVI 27 a

Catalogue entry

Drawn with the book turned to the right, is a half-page sketch of Roslin Castle, seen from the north-west, and inscribed ‘Ros’. Turner made several more sketches of the castle from this view in the Scotch Antiquities sketchbook (see Tate D13717; Turner Bequest CLXVII 72a). Although parts of the castle are still relatively intact (see folio 65 verso; D13576), Turner has concentrated on the ruins to create a more picturesque image. With the sun appearing between clouds behind the castle, the ruins are silhouetted against the sky. The mass of foliage on the banks either side of the glen was carefully captured by Turner in his watercolour of the castle (Roslin Castle, circa 1820, watercolour, Indianapolis Museum of Art),1 which, as one commentator pointed out, ‘demonstrates his ability to draw complex woodland with the utmost clarity but without sacrificing anything of the wildness of natural forms’.2

Thomas Ardill
December 2007

Andrew Wilton, J.M.W. Turner: His Life and Work, Fribourg 1979, p.426 no.1065.
Eric Shanes, Evelyn Joll, Ian Warrell and others, Turner: The Great Watercolours, exhibition catalogue, Royal Academy of Arts, London 2000, p.113.

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