Joseph Mallord William Turner

Duart Castle and Sketches at the Mouth of the Sound of Mull

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 × 186 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D26849
Turner Bequest CCLXXIII 55 a

Catalogue entry

These sketches were made as the boat that brought Turner from Tobermory to Oban was entering The Firth of Lorn from the Sound of Mull (see folio 48; D26833 for details of this journey). At the top left is a sketch of Duart Castle at the mouth of the Sound, as seen from the north-east. Turner had made sketches in the Sound of Mull no.1 sketchbook of the castle as he steamed past on his outward journey from Oban to Skye (Tate D26943–D26945; Turner Bequest CCLXXIV 4a–5a), but he must have got a closer look on his return as the current sketch is much more exact in its record of the architecture (see D26945 for comparison). There are further sketches of Duart Castle in this sketchbook on folios 56 and 57 verso (D26850, D26853).
The Duart Castle sketch overlaps slightly with the sketch drawn at the upper right of the page. Inscribed ‘woody mound’, this matches the shape of the headland at the mouth of the Sound of Mull on the Morvern side, Rubha an Ridire, as seen from mouth of the Sound.
David Wallace-Hadrill and Janet Carolan have suggested that the sketch across the lower half of the page is either a view up the Sound of Mull, or a view of Loch Linnhe.1 The latter suggestion is the most compelling, as the right bank is perhaps too hilly to be the Morvern coast, but is a reasonable fit for the Argyll coast as seen from the south.
As Turner’s boat crossed the Firth of Lorn on its way to Oban the artist continued sketching on folio 56 (D26850).

Thomas Ardill
March 2010

1
David Wallace-Hadrill and Janet Carolan, ‘Turner on Mull and Staffa’, [circa 1991], Tate catalogue files, [folios 15, 21].

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