Joseph Mallord William Turner

Dunfermline Abbey Church and Monastery Looking East

1831

In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Graphite on paper
Dimensions
Support: 125 x 201 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D26447
Turner Bequest CCLXX 6 a

Catalogue entry

One of Turner’s studies of the ruins of Dunfermline Abbey, this sketch has been identified as a view of the abbey church and the remains of the monastery, seen from the south end of St Catherine’s Wynd to the west.1 At the left is the west end of the church with the west window, a round window above it and a gable above that. Above is the north-west tower and spire. At the centre of the sketch is the south transept. What Wallace-Hadrill and Carolan took to be a tower is probably just the gabled roof and a finial. At the right is the remaining wall of the Frater Hall (or refectory) of Dunfermline Monastery.
Turner visited Dunfermline on his way from Edinburgh to Stirling in 1831 and later used his sketches as the basis for an illustration to a new edition of Sir Walter Scott’s Tales of a Grandfather. See folio 3 verso (D26441) for details and references to further sketches.

Thomas Ardill
June 2010

1
Wallace-Hadrill and Carolan 1990, p.15.

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