J.M.W. Turner: Sketchbooks, Drawings and Watercolours

Sheets Associated with the 1831 Tour of Scotland 1831

Turner Bequest CLIV K, CCCXLI a 284, CCCXLI a 285, CCCLXIV d 324–327, 329, 330, 353, 357–361v, 369, 370, 370v
During his 1831 tour of Scotland, Turner documented almost all stages of his journey in a series of eleven sketchbooks; see Tour of Scotland for Scott’s Poetical Works 1831 Tour Introduction. A small group of loose sheets of various types of paper with sketches relating to the tour have also emerged. While some of these sheets constitute a group in their own right, others were used on an ad hoc basis in addition to the sketchbooks. With such a disparate group of associated loose sheets it is possible that there are further associated sketches which have not survived, or have not yet been identified and are yet to come to light.
David Wallace-Hadrill and Janet Carolan have identified a group of around seventeen sheets that were used during excursions from Hugh Munro’s house at Novar near Evanton, Ross-shire.1 The sketches depict Novar House and views nearby of the Cromarty Firth, the Black Rock Gorge and Glen Glass. There are also a few sketches made on a trip north towards the Dornoch Firth.
It is not certain why Turner used loose sheets rather than the Inverness sketchbook, which he had been using previously and which still had plenty of blank pages. Perhaps he was taking the opportunity to ‘travel light’ by carrying just a pencil and a roll of paper, or he may have set off for the day without his sketchbook and had to borrow paper from Hugh Munro.
Other loose-leaf sketches made on the tour were used alongside sketchbooks. Both sides of one single sheet of paper (Tate D12109; Turner Bequest CLIV K) were used alongside the Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border sketchbook for several sketches of subjects that also appear in that book: Tate D25830–D25831 (Turner Bequest CCLXVI 35a–36). The sketches appear to have been made on the spot rather than being worked up from other sketches or from memory, but why Turner should have used a single loose sheet alongside the sketchbook is not clear. Two sheets of sketches of Fingal’s Cave on Staffa (Tate D34001, D34002; Turner Bequest CCCXLI a 284, 285) closely resemble sketches in the Staffa sketchbook (Tate D26797, D26798; Turner Bequest CCLXXIII 29, 29a) and it is not certain if they were made on the spot, or worked up in the studio based on those sketches.
1
Wallace-Hadrill and Carolan 1994.

Thomas Ardill
August 2010

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How to cite

Thomas Ardill, ‘Sheets Associated with the 1831 Tour of Scotland 1831’, subset, August 2010, in David Blayney Brown (ed.), J.M.W. Turner: Sketchbooks, Drawings and Watercolours, December 2012, https://www.tate.org.uk/art/research-publications/jmw-turner/sheets-associated-with-the-1831-tour-of-scotland-r1135594, accessed 25 July 2014.