Joseph Mallord William Turner

Bass Rock from the South-West


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 12

Catalogue entry

This slight sketch is made with the book inverted, and, like the one made on folio 11 verso (D13342; CLXV 11a), it shows the Bass Rock seen from the coast to the south-west. In order to understand why Turner made this sketch, and what it added to his knowledge of the island, it is useful to study the two pages in relation to each other. Although they show the same view, variations in the shape of the rock suggest that Turner may have made one to clarify the other, or they could be from slightly different viewpoints. It is not certain which drawing was made first. There are similar views following this in the sketchbook (folios 12 verso and 13; D13344 and D13345; CLXV 12a and 13), and there are numerous sketches of the Bass Rock in this and the other two 1818 sketchbooks, as well as the King’s Visit to Scotland sketchbook (Tate D17516, D17521, D17645, D17646, D17647; Turner Bequest CC 5, 7a, 78a, 79, 79a) from 1822. All were made in connection to an engraving design in watercolour for Scott’s Provincial Antiquities: Bass Rock, circa 1824 (Lady Lever Art Gallery, Port Sunlight).1

Thomas Ardill
October 2007

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

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