Joseph Mallord William Turner

Bonshaw Tower near Kirtlebridge, Dumfriesshire, with the Solway Firth in the Distance


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 184 x 114 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest LVI 173 a

Catalogue entry

The subject is continued on folio 176 recto opposite (D03254; Turner Bequest LVI 174). Finberg thought that this was a view of Auchin Castle, on the assumption that it represented the same building as that on folios 173 verso–174 recto (D03249–D03250; Turner Bequest LVI 171a–172);1 see under D03249 for the explanation that Turner’s own identification is mistaken, and that the structure is actually Lochhouse Tower, drawn also on folios 174 verso–175 recto (D03251–D03252; Turner Bequest LVI 172a–173).
The tower shown in the present drawing must be yet another fortlet, since it stands in open country, whereas Lochhouse is surrounded by trees; it is moreover considerably larger and higher and its walls are intact. Its identity is apparent in another view of it, on folios 177 verso–178 recto (D03257–D03258; Turner Bequest LVI 175a–176), which includes the large Merkland Cross, close to Bonshaw Tower.
Further drawings of Bonshaw Tower are on folios 176 verso–180 recto (D03255–D03262; Turner Bequest LVI 174a–175, 175a–176, 176a–177, 177a–178). A three-storey towerhouse dating from the 1560s, it was the seat of the Irving clan, in whose possession it remains. D03255–D03246 shows a small dwelling next to it, which was enlarged into a substantial house in the early nineteenth century.
See Finberg 1909, I, p.150.
Technical notes:
An adventitious charcoal mark at the top right is offset on folio 176 recto opposite (D03254; Turner Bequest LVI 174)

Andrew Wilton
May 2013

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