Joseph Mallord William Turner

Dunfermline Abbey from the South

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 × 201 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D26440
Turner Bequest CCLXX 3

Catalogue entry

This view of Dunfermline Abbey was made from across the glen to the south. Looking up to the remains of the abbey complex, the south wall of the Frater range is seen with the stumpy tower of the Pends behind (see folio 2; D26438), and the arches of Dorter range below to the right. Above the Dorter range is the outline of the square east tower of the abbey church.
There are trees in the left foreground, and in the centre beneath the abbey are the gables of a building. A large circle beneath the left gable may be a water-wheel as seen in the watercolour that Turner made of Dunfermline circa 1834–5 (private collection).1
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
Andrew Wilton, J.M.W. Turner: His Life and Work, Fribourg 1979, p.433 no.1121.

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