Joseph Mallord William Turner

Sketches of Lochmaben Castle, Near Lockerbie

1831

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

Medium
Graphite on paper
Dimensions
Support: 187 x 114 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D25877
Turner Bequest CCLXVI 59

Catalogue entry

With the sketchbook turned to the left are four sketches of Lochmaben Castle. As the castle was obscured by a ring of encircling trees, Turner made sketches of it from every angle and from up close.1 The first three sketches on this page are from the east and look across part of the Castle Loch to the ruins which stand on a small promontory. Turner shifted his position for each sketch so the ruins look slightly different each time. In the top sketch the castle ruins and the composition as a whole closely resemble a watercolour of the subject: Lochmaben Castle circa 1832 (private collection),2 that Turner painted as an alternative to the one used as the illumination to the third volume of Sir Walter Scott’s Poetical Works.3 There is a similar sketch on folio 58 verso (D25876) which also continues a sketch of the ruins that may have been used as the basis of this detail in the painting.
The sketch at the bottom of the page, inscribed ‘west’, belongs to a group of sketches on folio 59 verso (D25878) that show close up views of the ruins of Lochmaben Castle from the ‘North’, ‘East’ and perhaps ‘W[est]’ and south.
For more information on Turner’s sketches of Lochmaben Castle see folio 57 verso (D25874).

Thomas Ardill
September 2009

1
Gerald Finley, Landscapes of Memory: Turner as Illustrator to Scott, London 1980, p.93.
2
Andrew Wilton, J.M.W. Turner: His Life and Work, Fribourg 1979, p.436 no.1150.
3
Wilton 1979, pp.427–8 no.1075.

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