Joseph Mallord William Turner

Duart Castle; and Dunollie Castle

1831

In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Graphite on paper
Dimensions
Support: 116 x 186 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D26853
Turner Bequest CCLXXIII 57 a

Catalogue entry

The four studies of a ruin at the lower right of this page have been identified as Duart Castle on the Isle of Mull.1 They are all roughly from the east and were made, along with a similar study on folio 55 verso (D26849), as Turner steamed towards Oban from Tobermory. The artist had sketched the castle as he passed it on his outward journey from Oban to Skye in the Sound of Mull no.1 sketchbook (Tate D26943–D26945; Turner Bequest CCLXXIV 4a–5a). The studies on the present page demonstrate that his return journey brought him closer to the castle, giving him a better view of its architecture. As he steamed away across the Firth of Lorn, Turner looked back and drew the sketch at the top of the page showing the castle on a headland of Mull.
The final sketch on the page, drawn at the left of the page with the sketchbook turned to the right, belongs to a series of views made around Oban Pier (see also folios 58–59 verso; D26854–D26857). These include groups of fashionably dressed people, many of whom wear the Highland trappings of tartan and Tam O’Shanter bonnets. The present sketch includes three or so figures standing in the foreground of a view north along the coast, looking towards Dunollie Castle from around Oban (see folio 95; D26928 for further sketches of the castle).

Thomas Ardill
March 2010

1
David Wallace-Hadrill and Janet Carolan, ‘Turner on Mull and Staffa’, [circa 1991], Tate catalogue files, [folios 16, 21].

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