Joseph Mallord William Turner

Dryhope Tower, St Mary’s Loch, Selkirkshire


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 23 a

Catalogue entry

The two sketches on this page, which depict a landscape with hills and a tower, precede views of St Mary’s Loch in Selkirkshire. Turner arrived at the loch from the road to the north-east, having travelled from Innerleithen, and would have passed Dryhope Tower as he neared the water.
The upper sketch depicts a view south-west towards the loch, with the suggestion of the tower and perhaps farm buildings towards the right of the image. The hills in the background match those at the far end of St Mary’s Loch, as seen on folios 24–28 (D26140–D26148). Because the tower is not very clear in this sketch. Turner made another quick sketch of it at the top right of the page. This view can be compared to an engraving by Joseph Swan after John M. Leighton of St Mary’s Loch Dryhope Tower Selkirkshire Looking South West which was published as part of Swan’s Select View of the Lakes of Scotland in 1836.
The second sketch brings us closer to the tower, which is seen from the road to the south this time, with the hills Dryhope Rig, South Hawkshaw Rig and Ward Law behind it to the north. The shape of the tower here is close to its appearance today.
Dryhope was built as a peel tower by the Scotts of Dryhope (ancestors of Sir Walter Scott) in the fifteenth century, with alterations made in later centuries.1 As Turner was in the vicinity of St Mary’s Loch to collect views for potential illustrations to the St Ronan’s Well volume of a proposed new edition of Scott’s Waverley Novels,2 it is possible that he was aware of Dryhope’s connection to the author.
There may be further views of the tower on the reverse of this page (folio 23; D26138).

Thomas Ardill
January 2011

‘Dryhope Tower: Archaeological Notes’, Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historic Monuments of Scotland, accessed 11 January 2011, <>.
Gerald Finley, Landscape of Memory, Turner as Illustrator to Scott, London 1980, p.182. See also Tour of Scotland for Scott’s Prose Works 1834 Tour Introduction.

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