Joseph Mallord William Turner

Ben Venue, The Trossachs; and Bowmore from Bridgend, Islay

1831

In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Graphite on paper
Dimensions
Support: 125 x 201 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D26537
Turner Bequest CCLXX 51 a

Catalogue entry

Drawn with the sketchbook turned to the left (so that the gutter is at the top) is a sketch of the Trossachs with the mountain of Ben Venue. Turner made a number of sketches of the area between the mountain and Loch Achray in preparation for an illustration to Sir Walter Scott’s The Lady of the Lake (see folio 49; D265532 for details and references). This sketch is similar to one on folio 25 verso (D26485); both look west along the Achray Water towards Ben Venue.
Drawn along the gutter of the page, with the sketchbook inverted, is a view from Bridgend to ‘Bowmore’ on Islay. The view is therefore south-west across Loch Indaal with the village of Bowmore halfway up the coast on the left, towards Saltpan Point at Garbreck and the Rinns (or Rhinns) of Islay on the right. Bridgend seems to have been the furthest point Turner reached on Islay. The fact that this tiny sketch seems to have been the only thing that he drew there suggests that he probably just went to look out to sea from one of the most westerly points that he ever travelled to; Loch Coruisk on Skye, also depicted in this sketchbook (folio 38 verso; D26511), is equally westerly. From here he returned to Port Askaig at the east of Islay (see folio 37 verso; D26509), from where he steamed to West Tarbert and onto Loch Fyne (see Tour of Scotland for Scott’s Poetical Works 1831 Tour Introduction for details).

Thomas Ardill
January 2010

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