Joseph Mallord William Turner

The Bass Rock

1818

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: 112 x 186 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D13597
Turner Bequest CLXVII 8

Catalogue entry

Standing beneath cliffs to the south of the island we look towards the Bass Rock. While the Bass is drawn with just a simple outline (the distinctive shape is similarly sketched on the inside front cover of this sketchbook; D40915), more attention is paid to the shape and character of the craggy cliffs and to the building at the top. This may be Seacliff House rather than Tantallon Castle; a mid eighteenth-century building near the cliffs to the south-east of the castle which Turner drew twice more in this sketchbook (folios 6 verso–7 and 9 verso–10; D13595–D13596 and D13600–D13601; CLXVII 6a, 7, 8c, 9). At the edge of the cliffs may be a small figure, emphasising the height of the cliffs and the distance to the island.

Thomas Ardill
February 2008

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