David Wallace-Hadrill has managed to decipher Turner’s inscription as ‘Coir nan Uriskin’,1 which is written as ‘Coir na Uruisgean’ in the current Ordnance Survey map, though more commonly written as Turner has written it. The artist has obviously gone to more trouble than usual to spell the name correctly and write it clearly as the ‘r’ of Uriskin has been corrected.
The name refers to a corrie (also called a cirque – a natural basin formation in a mountain) at the northern foot of Ben Venue, the mountain at the south-east end of Loch Katrine. There is a clearer sketch of the area on folio 26 (D26486). Turner’s keenness to record the spot may be connected to Sir Walter Scott, who probably advised the artist to look out for it. The area is just beneath Bealach nam Bo, a mountain pass where Rob Roy supposedly led his cattle. Scott wrote about Roy in his novel, Rob Roy (1817), and The Lady of the Lake (1810) is set close by on Ellen’s Island. Turner’s reason for visiting Loch Katrine was to collect material to make an illustration for the Lady of the Lake volume of Scott’s Poetical Works. The sketch for this painting is on folio 47 of this sketchbook (D26528).
Beneath the sketch of Corrie-nan-Uriskin is a sketch of mountains on the shore of a loch. This may be a view of the northern side of the loch with Ben A’an, and perhaps Ellen’s Island. Both sketches continue on folio 31 verso (D26497).
For more information on Turner’s visit to Loch Katrine, see folio 47.
David Wallace-Hadrill and Janet Carolan, ‘Turner Round the Clyde and in Islay – 1831’, 1991, Tate catalogue files, folio 3.