Joseph Mallord William Turner

Sketches of Lochleven Castle, Kinross

1834

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

Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Graphite on paper
Dimensions
Support: 113 x 190 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D26398
Turner Bequest CCLXIX 73

Catalogue entry

The four sketches on this page have been identified as Lochleven Castle, on Loch Leven, Kinross. At the upper left of the page, drawn with the book in the landscape format, is a view of the castle ruins from just outside the courtyard to the north-west, with a similar sketch taken from the west beneath. At the outer edge of the page, drawn with the sketchbook turned to the left, are two further rough sketches. The top one, numbered ‘1’ by Turner, can be identified as a view of the castle and the small island on which it sits as seen from the water to the south. Beneath this is a much rougher and more obscure sketch of the loch inscribed with the number ‘2’, suggesting that it has a connection to sketch ‘1’; perhaps it is a continuation to the right of the same view.
Beneath this is an inscription, part of which has been read, by David Wallace-Hadrill and Janet Carolan, as saying ‘you will be fulfilled.’ This, the authors have taken to be a reference to Queen Mary I’s imprisonment and escape from Lochleven Castle.1 There seems to be no connection, however, to Sir Walter Scott’s novel The Abbot (1820), which deals with this event and which Turner had been commissioned to illustrate for Robert Cadell’s new edition of the Waverley Novels. While Turner did not complete any designs for Cadell’s edition, he did illustrate Fisher and Co.’s Landscape – Historical Illustrations of Scotland and the Waverley Novels with an image of Loch Leven for The Abbot: Lochleven Castle circa 1835 (whereabouts unknown).2
Further sketches of Lochleven Castle in this sketchbook are on folios 72 and 74 (D26396, D26400). There are also sketches of the castle in the Loch Ard sketchbook: Tate D26708; Turner Bequest CCLXXII 23).

Thomas Ardill
October 2010

1
Wallace-Hadrill and Carolan 1990, Vol.10 no.2, p.31.
2
Andrew Wilton, J.M.W. Turner: His Life and Work, Fribourg 1979, p.435 no.1139.

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