Joseph Mallord William Turner

Blair Atholl, Looking towards Killiecrankie


Not on display

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Watercolour and gouache on paper
Support: 533 × 780 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest LXX b

Display caption

This watercolour was previously thought to show Mount Snowdon. It has many technical similarities with a group of
large sketches Turner painted out of
doors on his tour of Wales in 1799. However, it is now thought to be based
on a pencil sketch in a sketchbook
used on his 1801 tour of Scotland.


Turner shows his fluent use of pure watercolour in the rays of sunlight breaking through the clouds. He could produce this effect by removing wet paint from the paper with long brush strokes.


Gallery label, September 2004

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Catalogue entry

This is based on a pencil sketch in the 1801 Scotch Lakes sketchbook (Tate D03151–D03152; Turner Bequest LVI 121a–122). Although listed by Finberg among miscellaneous subjects of about 1800–2,1 until recently this large study was supposed to show a view in North Wales. Finberg (MS note) considered it ‘only a lay–in’ characterized by ‘weak greys’.2
The present author included this sheet in his catalogue for Turner in Wales, but omitted it from the actual display of that exhibition, on realising that in practice it did not ‘belong’ with those works. Its dependence on the sketch in the Scotch Lakes book was noticed by the artist Jeremy Yates.3
See Finberg 1909, I, pp.174–8, LXX A–Z, a–j.
Undated MS note by Finberg (died 1939) in interleaved copy of Finberg 1909, Tate Britain Prints and Drawings Room, I, opposite p.177.
Personal communication.
Technical notes:
Bower supposes that the paper was made by or for William Elgar, possibly working at Little Ivy Mill or Upper Tovil Mill, Maidstone, Kent.1
See Bower 1990, pp.73, 74 note 1.

Andrew Wilton
May 2013

Revised by Matthew Imms
April 2015

Read full Catalogue entry


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