Joseph Mallord William Turner

?Clamshell Cave, Staffa; Sketches of Loch Linnhe Continued


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 116 × 186 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCLXXIII 39

Catalogue entry

The main sketch on this page, David Wallace-Hadrill and Janet Carolan have suggested, may be of Clamshell Cave on the Isle of Staffa.1 If this is correct then it must be a view from the foot of the cave looking up to the cliffs above the cave entrance. The use of jagged, broken lines and shading is consistent with Turner’s style of depicting the layer of basalt rock that sits above the striated, columnar layer for which the island is famous (see, for example, folio 30 verso; D26800). Other sketches of the Clamshell Cave are on folios 30, 34 verso and 35 (D26799, D26806, D26897). However, there are no topographic features in this sketch that can confirm the identification.
At the top left of the page, drawn with the sketchbook turned to the right, is a small study of Castle Stalker on Loch Linnhe near Port Appin. The drawing was made at the same time as three further studies on folio 38 verso (D26814). Also at the bottom of the page is the continuation of four of the sketches of Loch Linnhe from folio 38 verso.

Thomas Ardill
March 2010

David Wallace-Hadrill and Janet Carolan, ‘Turner on Mull and Staffa, 1831’, [circa 1991], Tate catalogue files, [folios 8, 18].

Read full Catalogue entry

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