Joseph Mallord William Turner

Craignethan Castle, Lanarkshire from the North


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 113 × 190 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCLXIX 15 a

Catalogue entry

Seen from across the Nethan Gorge to the north, this sketch of Craignethan Castle in Lanarkshire captures the romantic setting of the ruin that Walter Scott apparently took as the inspiration for Tillietudlum Castle in his novel, Old Mortality, 1816: see folio 14 verso (D26286). The most prominent part of the ruin is the sixteenth-century tower house on the cliff edge. To the right is the small house added by Andrew Hay in the mid-seventeenth century. The inclusion of a figure in the foreground emphasises the impenetrability of the castle’s defences and helps to determine the scale of the structure and its distance from our viewpoint. This may be John Gibson Lockhart who accompanied Turner on his visit to the castle on 19 September 1834 (see folio 14 verso).
Turner made a dozen sketches of the castle from different viewpoints, see folio 14 verso, another view from the north, for further details and references.

Thomas Ardill
October 2010

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