Joseph Mallord William Turner

Yarrow Kirk, Selkirkshire

1834

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: 111 x 181 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D26160
Turner Bequest CCLXVIII 34

Catalogue entry

Gerald Finley has listed this sketchbook page among those used on Turner’s two-day tour to Selkirk, St Mary’s Loch and Innerleithen,1 while David Wallace-Hadrill has tentatively suggested that this may be a sketch of Innerleithen.2 A more likely identification, however, is the village of Yarrow with Yarrow Kirk and Bridge, made by Turner as he travelled along the Yarrow Valley from St Mary’s Loch to Selkirk. The church, which is seen here from the approach to the west, has changed in appearance since the addition of an octagonal apse in 1906, but its size and the topography of the landscape make a good match with Nout Hill on the left and Deuchar Hill on the right. Turner has included a separate sketch of the church’s small bell tower at the bottom of the page.
Besides the attractive setting of the lonely church, Turner may have been aware that it had been frequented by both Sir Walter Scott and James Hogg. Turner’s two-day excursion around the Scottish Borders on 2 and 3 October 1834 was undertaken to sketch sites associated with Sir Walter Scott. Turner had been commissioned by the late author’s publisher, Robert Cadell, to illustrate new editions of Scott’s Prose Works and the Waverley Novels, as well as J.G. Lockhart’s Life of Scott. Turner seems to have also taken an interest in the area’s association with the poet James Hogg, whose surname is inscribed on two pages of this sketchbook (folios 26 verso and 33; D26145, D26158).

Thomas Ardill
January 2011

1
Finley 1990, pp.182, 258 note 48.
2
David Wallace-Hadrill, ‘1834/ 1831’ (unpublished MS), circa 1991, Tate catalogue files.

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