Not on display

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 90 × 112 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CLXVI 17 a

Catalogue entry

It is not surprising that Finberg got no further with the identification of this drawing (continuing on folio 18; D13483) than describing it as ‘a town’ as there are few distinguishing features. There are, however, a number of clues that point towards Dunbar as a possible identification, not least, the fact that this is the subject of the next drawing in the sketchbook (folios 18 verso–19; D13484–D13485).
There similarities to a view of Dunbar from the ruins of the castle in the Scotch Antiquities sketchbook (Tate D13626; CLXVII 24) where there are buildings on the quay near the Dunbar Battery that bare a resemblance to the building at the left of this sketch (folio 18). The same building may also appear in a sketch in the Bass Rock and Edinburgh sketchbook (Tate D13365; Turner Bequest CLXV 24).
The lower two-thirds of the drawing is taken up with roughly scribbled lines that give a sense rather than a description of the landscape, though they are perhaps more topographically meaningful for Turner. The approach is reminiscent of the artist’s way of denoting rocks, cliffs and crags along the coast around Dunbar and North Berwick in the Bass Rock and Edinburgh sketchbook (e.g. Tate D13331; Turner Bequest CLXV 6).

Thomas Ardill
December 2007

Read full Catalogue entry

You might like

In the shop