Joseph Mallord William Turner

Bamburgh Castle on a Cliff above a Stormy Sea, with a Small Boat


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 135 × 95 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest XL 86 a

Catalogue entry

Inverted relative to the sketchbook’s foliation, this drawing is continued on folio 89 recto opposite (D01612; Turner Bequest XL 87). It has hitherto been regarded as a view of Dunstanburgh Castle, of which there are other examples in this book; see folios 82 verso–83 recto and 84 verso–85 recto (D01599–D01600, D01603–D01604; Turner Bequest XL 80a–81, 82a–83). However, the present drawing appears to show Bamburgh, another castle on the coast of Northumberland. A second possible Bamburgh view is on folios 86 verso–87 recto (D01607–D01608; Turner Bequest 84a–85).
In his North of England sketchbook in 1797, Turner made drawings at both Bamburgh (Tate D00956–D00958; Turner Bequest XXXIV 47, 48, 49) and Dunstanburgh (Tate D00952–D00954; Turner Bequest XXXIV 45, 46, 46a). Although the present subject is Bamburgh, the view of it with jagged rocks and a rough sea in the foreground seems to be related to Turner’s plans for an oil painting and watercolours of Dunstanburgh, executed in these years; see Tate D00890 and D01112–D01114 (Turner Bequest XXXIII S, XXXVI R, S, T).

Andrew Wilton
May 2013

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