Joseph Mallord William Turner

The Island of Inchkeith

1822

In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
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
D17527
Turner Bequest CC 10 a

Catalogue entry

Rather than a ‘rocky coast’ as Finberg and subsequent scholars have described it,1 this sketch made with the book turned to the right may in fact be of an island. The shape of the island and the appearance of the lighthouse match Inchkeith near Leith, and considering how many sketches Turner made of Leith from Leith Roads (see King’s Visit to Scotland 1822 Introduction) it is not surprising that he turned north to make at least one sketch of the island and the north, Fife shore beyond it.
The sketch beneath may show the Fife shore of the Firth of Forth near Burntisland, with what may perhaps be the Binn hill as in folio 35 verso (D17563).
There are signs of damage and repair at the top right of the page.

Thomas Ardill
September 2008

1
Finberg 1909, I, p.610, CC 10a; Finley 1981, pp.82, [108].

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