Joseph Mallord William Turner

Cambuskenneth Abbey; Clackmannan Tower; and Stirling Castle from Alloa


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 101 × 158 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCLXXI 20 a

Catalogue entry

This page contains the last sketches that Turner made from a boat in the River Forth that he took from Queensferry near Edinburgh to Stirling.1 The sketches begin around Rosyth Castle, not far from North Queensferry (folio 24 verso; D26666), and trace the northern and southern shorelines until Turner came within sight of Stirling (for more information see inside back cover; D41132).
The first sketch of the page was probably the rather slight sketch of a shoreline made along the tail of the page. Next Turner made a sketch of Clackmannan Tower, labelled ‘Clack’, at the bottom of the page. There are further sketches of the tower on folios 21 and 21 verso (D26659, D26660). A sheet of rain is shown to the left of the sketch falling on the Orchil range to the north of the tower. There are further sketches of rain clouds on folios 21, 22, 24 and the inside back cover of the sketchbook (D26659, D26661, D26665, D41132).
Turner then made two sketches of the tower of Cambuskenneth Abbey. These were both made from the west, Turner having passed the tower on the east as his boat steamed round a turn of the river. The first sketch is a view of the tower with the river in the foreground and trees to the right, and with two shapes that may be boats in the water. Above this Turner made a more careful study of the tower, paying attention to its windows and corner tower. The gabled roof is no longer present.
Finally at the foot of the page, made with the sketchbook inverted, is a sketch inscribed ‘Stirling from Alloa’, probably made from about the same spot as the Cambuskenneth sketches, though looking in the opposite direction. This shows the outline of Stirling Castle with the hills to the south-west at the left.

Thomas Ardill
October 2009

Dr David Wallace-Hadrill and Janet Carolan, ‘Turner’s Sketches North of Stirling’, Turner Studies: His Art and Epoch 1775–1851, Summer 1990 vol.10 no.1, p.16.

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