Joseph Mallord William Turner

Dunderave Castle; and Ben Arthur From Arrochar

1831

In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Graphite on paper
Dimensions
Support: 158 × 101 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D26634
Turner Bequest CCLXXI 8 a

Catalogue entry

At the top of this page is Turner’s second sketch of Dunderave Castle, which stands on the north-west shore of Loch Fyne. Having drawn the castle from the road to the west (folio 7 verso; D26632), Turner found a spot just off the road to the south-west of the castle to make the present sketch, which David Wallace-Hadrill and Janet Carolan have noted is approximately the same viewpoint as his watercolour, Loch Fyne 1815 (British Museum),1 in which the turreted roof of the castle can just be seen above the trees. Turner also made a quick, diagrammatic sketch on folio 4 (D26625).
David Wallace-Hadrill identified the sketch across the centre of the page as Ben Arthur with Arrochar in the foreground.2 Although the peak of the mountain at the centre of the sketch does not closely resemble the summit of the Cobbler (as Ben Arthur is also known), the outline of the rest of the hills matches the view north-west across Loch Long near Arrochar very closely. Turner has elevated the peak of Ben Arthur to make it more prominent, and owing to the rapid nature of the sketch its craggy appearance has been lost somewhat. Two sketches of Ben Arthur from Arrochar in the Stirling and the West sketchbook provide a more characteristic appearance (Tate D26557–D26558; Turner Bequest CCLXX 61a–62). A series of scribbles at the bottom of the sketch represents the buildings of Arrochar.
The sketch at the bottom of the page has not been identified. It appears to show a box shape, presumably a building, in a mountainous landscape which is likely (judging by the other sketches on the page) to be around the head of Loch Long or Glen Croe. It is possible that the building could be Dunderave Castle, although it does not looks like the sketch at the top of the page.
At the bottom-right corner of the page is the very slight continuation of a sketch from folio 9 (D26635).

Thomas Ardill
November 2009

1
Andrew Wilton, J.M.W. Turner: His Life and Work, Fribourg 1979, p.340 no.351.
2
David Wallace-Hadrill and Janet Carolan, ‘Turner Round the Clyde and In Islay – 1831’, 1991, Tate catalogue files, ‘checklist’ folio 8.

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