Joseph Mallord William Turner

Chiefswood Cottage, Abbotsford


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 111 x 181 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCLXVIII 52

Catalogue entry

This is Chiefswood Cottage, the summer retreat of John Gilbert Lockhart on the Abbotsford estate of his late father-in-law, Sir Walter Scott. Turner had first visited the house on 7 August 1831 when he went to dinner with the Lockharts, Sir Walter and his publisher Robert Cadell,1 though he made no sketches on that occasion. This sketch, made on the artist’s return on 3 October 1834, was executed in response to a commission from Cadell to design a vignette illustration of the house for vol.XVIII (Periodical Criticism: Romance, 1835) of a new edition of Scott’s Prose Works: Chiefswood Cottage at Abbotsford, circa 1834 (National Gallery of Scotland).2
The view is from the drive or path to the west, and the vignette carefully follows the details of the drawing, including the additional sketches of the chimneys and trellis at the top right of the page. In the vignette, however, the house is pushed further back from the arch of trees in the foreground, and more of Huntly Burn is included at the right of the sketch. Turner also added symbolic references to Lockhart and Scott in the form of a writing desk and an empty chair.3
There is a light brown stain at the bottom centre of this page.

Thomas Ardill
January 2011

Robert Cadell, ‘Abbotsford Diary’, 7 August 1831, cited in Gerald E. Finley, ‘J.M.W. Turner and Sir Walter Scott: Iconography of a Tour’, Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes, vol.35, 1972, p.380.
Wilton 1979, p.432 no.1118.
Finley 1980, p.210.

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