Joseph Mallord William Turner

The Old Nave of Dunfermline Abbey Church


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

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 125 x 201 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCLXX 7 a

Catalogue entry

This sketch depicts the interior of Dunfermline Abbey Church, and shows a view west along the old nave, which since the 1821 extension has been the vestibule. The quick sketch is fairly perfunctory but does include details of architecture and mouldings, such as the fan vaulting at the top left, the stripe and chevron design pillars at the right (see folio 7; D26448),1 and the capitals.
There are also two sketches of parts of doorways. At the bottom right is a sketch of the arched west door to the church, and at the bottom left is part of the door in one of the transepts.
Turner visited Dunfermline on his way from Edinburgh to Stirling in 1831 and later used his sketches as the basis for an illustration to a new edition of Sir Walter Scott’s Tales of a Grandfather. See folio 3 verso (D26441) for details and references to further sketches.

Thomas Ardill
June 2010

David Wallace-Hadrill and Janet Carolan write that these are in fact to the south of the nave not the north as shown here, though the design is similar on both sides; Wallace-Hadrill and Carolan 1990, p.15.

Read full Catalogue entry