In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 111 × 181 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCLXVIII 52 a

Catalogue entry

Abbotsford, the neo-gothic house built by Sir Walter Scott near Melrose in the Scottish Borders, is seen here from the north-east in a simple but careful sketch of the architecture and its surrounding landscape.
It was executed on 3 October 1834 on an excursion from Edinburgh to the Scottish Borders during which Turner sketched sites connected to Scott’s life and work. He made only three sketches of the houses of which this is the most carefully executed (see also folios 47 and 47 verso; D26186, D26187), and two more of the River Tweed nearby (folios 48, 48 verso; D26188, D26189). However, despite the very scrappy nature of the other two sketches, they seem to have formed the compositional basis of the watercolour design for an illustration to John Gibson Lockhart’s Life of Scott: Abbotsford from the Northern Bank of the Tweed, circa 1836 (whereabouts unknown).1 See folio 47 for more information.
There is a light brown stain at the top centre of this page.

Thomas Ardill
January 2011

Andrew Wilton, J.M.W. Turner: His Life and Work, Fribourg 1979, p.435 no.1142.

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