Joseph Mallord William Turner

Dunbar Castle


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 112 × 186 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CLXVII 24

Catalogue entry

Standing by the rocky promontory which houses Dunbar Castle we look north-east towards Dunbar Harbour with some of the ruins of the castle in the foreground. The harbour is built upon the site of the old Dunbar Battery, which explains the crenellated harbour wall. Turner made several sketches of the harbour in the Bass Rock and Edinburgh sketchbook, one of which, folio 24 (Tate D13365; Turner Bequest CLXV 24), shows the harbour and castle from the east (see also folios 18 verso–19 in the Edinburgh, 1818 sketchbook; Tate D13484–D13485; Turner Bequest CLXVI 18a–19). This is the first of several sketches showing the castle ruins from close up in this sketchbook (see folios 25 verso–30; D13627–D13632; CLXVII 24a–29). Turner must have walked around and among the ruins to makes these sketches. The sketch continues at the left on folio 24 verso (D13625; CLXVII 23a).

Thomas Ardill
February 2008

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