Joseph Mallord William Turner

Abbotsford, From Across the River Tweed


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 113 × 185 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCLXVII 70

Catalogue entry

The sketch of Abbotsford on this page, made with the book inverted, was probably the third sketch of the house that Robert Cadell recalled Turner making on 8 August 1831. Having drawn the house from ‘a high bank or scar above the Gala’ (see folio 16 verso; D25957; CCLXVII 16a) and then from ‘opposite the house’ (see folio 17; D25958; CCLXVII 17), the artist and publisher then ‘drove westward to an ash tree. The gig was turned when he took a Sketch from it also of Abbotsford.’1
The ash tree may be at the left of the picture and Abbotsford is to the right of centre, seen from the south-west across the River Tweed. The sketch continues slightly on folio 67 verso (D26047; CCLXVII 69a). In 1834 the artist returned to Abbotsford and made several sketches of a similar view of the house: Tate D26186 (Turner Bequest CCLXVIII 47). These formed the basis of a watercolour which was engraved to illustrate John Gibson Lockhart’s Life of Scott: Abbotsford from the Northern Bank of the Tweed circa 1838 (whereabouts unknown).2
See folio 16 verso for further information on Turner’s sketches of Abbotsford.

Thomas Ardill
September 2009

Robert Cadell, ‘Abbotsford Diary’, Monday 8 August 1831, National Library of Scotland, MS Acc. 5188, Box 12, folio 109; transcribed in Gerald E. Finley, ‘J.M.W. Turner and Sir Walter Scott: Iconography of a Tour’, Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes, vol.35, 1972, p.383.
Andrew Wilton, J.M.W. Turner: His Life and Work, Fribourg 1979, p.435 no.1142.

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