Joseph Mallord William Turner

Bass Rock Castle and Fortifications


Not on display

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 99 × 159 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CLXV 8

Catalogue entry

Of the many sketches of Bass Rock in this sketchbook and the other 1818 sketchbooks, this is the view closest to the one that Turner chose for his watercolour of 1824, Bass Rock, circa 1824 (Lady Lever Art Gallery, Port Sunlight);1 although more sketches were made in 1822 (Tate D17516, D17521, D17645, D17646 D17647; Turner Bequest CC 5, 7a, 78a, 79, 79a). It shows the rock from close up, drawn from a boat that Turner must have chartered to take him close up to examine it from different angles. Here the rock is seen from the south-west, with the ruins of the castle and fortifications (see folio 7 verso; D13334; CLXV 7a). Although the drawing is rather sketchy, as one of many it contains only the information that Turner wished to record. The sketch on the page above (7 verso) is taken from a very similar vantage point, but perhaps further away as it is less detailed.

Thomas Ardill
October 2007

Andrew Wilton, J.M.W. Turner: His Life and Work, Fribourg 1979, p.426 no.1069.

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