Joseph Mallord William TurnerTour Notes and Sketches of a Tower 1818

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Artwork details

Tour Notes and Sketches of a Tower
From Edinburgh, 1818, Sketchbook
Turner Bequest CLXVI
Date 1818
MediumGraphite on paper
Dimensionssupport: 112 x 90 mm
Acquisition Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CLXVI 70 a
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Catalogue entry

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Folio 70 Verso:
Tour Notes and Sketches of a Tower 1818
Turner Bequest CLXVI 70a
Pencil on white wove paper, 112 x 90 mm
Inscribed ‘R[...]d S[...] | like in [?]Berwickshire’ top left; ?‘Sefton Tower’ top right; ‘1 2 to Grantham | 1 2 to York | 15 to Newcastle | 2 19’ bottom inverted; by ?another hand ‘2’ bottom left descending vertically
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
This final page of the sketchbook provides the best evidence of Turner’s route to Scotland in 1818. With the page turned to the left, a note of the first three stages of his journey show that Turner travelled from London to Grantham, then on to York and ‘Newcastle’. Ever careful with money, Turner has noted down the cost of each stage of the journey in pounds and shillings and totted up the total: ‘1 2 to Grantham | 1 2 to York | [0] 15 to Newcastle | [£]2 19[s]’. This may be the projected cost made before he set off, or an account made when he arrived in Newcastle.1 From Newcastle Turner travelled up the coast, crossing over the border to Scotland at Berwick-upon-Tweed, and continuing north to St Abbs, onto Fast Castle, then Cockburnspath and Dunbar. The route was known as the Great North Road. He returned by a similar route, visiting Sir Walter Fawkes at his home Farnly Hall on the way. Beneath the inscription is a slight sketch of a hilly landscape.
With the sketchbook turned to the right are two inscriptions and two slight sketches. The first inscription at the top left refers to ‘Berwickshire’, the first county in Scotland that Turner entered during this tour. Beneath and to the right of this are two views of a ruin with an inscription that Finberg has read as ‘Sefton Tower.’ While there is no place called Sefton in Scotland (though there is near Liverpool), ‘Sefton’ is also a name so could refer to someone associated with this building.

Thomas Ardill
January 2008

The equivalent cost in 2008 is £124, according to the National Archives Currency Converter, accessed 15 January 2008.

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