Joseph Mallord William Turner

Branxholme Castle


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 114 × 187 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCLXVI 86

Catalogue entry

The sketches on this page, which is inverted, are all of Branxholme Castle, which Scott and Turner both referred to as Branksome Tower (see folio 86 verso; D25914 where there is another view of Branxholme and more information on Turner’s visit). The two views of the castle (which is more like a grand house despite the peel-type tower) are from the banks of the River Teviot a little to the south, although the top sketch is from slightly closer to. Turner explored the area on foot on his way to Goldielands Tower (see folio 89; D25921) and Hawick, and the details at the bottom right of the page show that he came at least to the entrance of the castle, which is at the north.
These details consist of a sketch of part of the tower (evidently drawn to record the shape and position of the corbels as there is very little detail) a panel with two shields on it, and the inscription ‘1571’. The date is part of a larger inscription about Sir Walter Scott of Branxholme: ‘SCHIR UALTER SCOT OD BRANXHOLME; KNYCHT’ and his wife, ‘MARGARET DOUGLAS 1571’. This appears along with two armorial panels described as ‘on a bend, a star and two crescents, in chief a stag’s head erased and a rose’ and ‘A heart, on a chief three stars’.1

Thomas Ardill
September 2009

‘Branxholme Castle: Archaeological Notes’, Royal Commission on the Ancient Historical Monuments of Scotland, accessed 30 April 2009,

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