Joseph Mallord William Turner

Brough Castle, Cumbria


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 74 × 94 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCLXIV 36

Catalogue entry

The identification of this rather wobbly drawing as Brough Castle is based on its proximity to several views of Fox Tower in Helbeck near Brough in Cumbria (see folio 34; D25589). Turner passed both structures as he travelled between Appleby and Barnard Castle, and as Gerald Wilkinson has pointed out, the sketch has the appearance of being made from a moving coach.1
This view of the castle with the keep at the right of the picture, and indeed all the others, were evidently made from the north, and therefore from the road. Finberg’s identification of this sketch as a ‘Ruined castle on a rock’ is slightly misleading as the medieval castle in fact stands on what was originally an originally Roman earthwork. There are further sketches of the castle on folios 33 verso, 34 verso, 35, 37, 37 verso and 38 (D25588, D25590, D25591, D25595, D25596). Folio 37 is the most similar to the present sketch.

Thomas Ardill
September 2009

Gerald Wilkinson, Turner’s Colour Sketches 1820–34, London 1975, p.67.

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