Joseph Mallord William Turner

Sketches of Loch Linnhe with Airds House, Castle Stalker and Castle Shuna

1831

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

Medium
Graphite on paper
Dimensions
Support: 186 x 116 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D26814
Turner Bequest CCLXXIII 38 a

Catalogue entry

The seven sketches on this page, which continue slightly at the right onto folio 39 (D26815), were made as Turner travelled up Loch Linnhe towards Ballachulish. Having made a number of sketches as he steamed up the Lynn or Lorne between the island of Lismore and the coast of Appin (folio 39 verso; D26816), Turner continued sketching as he passed Port Appin.1 He began at the top of the page with a sketch inscribed ‘aird’. This has been identified as referring to Airds House, the eighteenth-century home of Donald Campbell of Airds, which stands near Airds Bay to the south of Port Appin.2 The house is depicted as a small square at the centre of the sketch, with mountains behind and the Appin Rocks to the left. The second sketch down may show Airds House again, this time at the far right of the sketch, with the Shuna Island at the centre.
The third sketch begins a sequence of views of Castle Stalker, a four-storey keep that stands on a tidal islet on Loch Laich, just off Loch Linnhe to the north of Port Appin. Although the castle has an interesting clan history (like others in the Highlands), Turner’s main interest, like tourists today, was likely to be in the castle’s picturesque situation. In this first sketch of the castle the structure is seen from a distance to the south-west with the mountain of Beinn Don behind it. As he drew nearer Turner was able to sketch two more detailed studies from closer (fourth and fifth sketches down), the first of which he inscribed ‘Stlaker’. He also made a small study at the top of folio 39, and further sketches on folio 38 (D26813), and perhaps folio 32 (D26802).
Having passed Castle Stalker Turner was now approaching Shuna Island. The southern end of the island is represented near the bottom of the page as seen from the south-west with mountains in the distance. Standing on the island at this point is Castle Shuna, which is sketched on its own at the bottom left of the page. There is also a further sketch of Castle Shuna on folio 38, where Turner’s sketches of Loch Linnhe continue.

Thomas Ardill
March 2010

1
David Wallace-Hadrill and Janet Carolan, ‘Turner’s Journey from Oban to Inverness, 1831’, [circa 1991], Tate catalogue files, [folios 1, 15].
2
Ibid.

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