Joseph Mallord William Turner

Dunfermline Glen and Abbey


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 201 × 125 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCLXX 5

Catalogue entry

The two sketches on this page were made from Dunfermline Glen to the south of the abbey church in what is now Pittencrieff Park. Across the top half of the page is the continuation of a sketch of the glen from folio 4 verso (D26444), consisting of just a row of vertical lines representing trees and a horizontal line for the top of the bank.
David Wallace-Hadrill and Janet Carolan have suggested that the bottom sketch may depict the bridge which spans the junction of Netherton Street and New Row.1 This is the Bothwell Street viaduct. However, it cannot be the subject of the sketch as it was not built until the 1870s. The arches seen at the top right of the sketch are therefore not bridge arches, but rather part of Dunfermline Monastery, perhaps some of the windows of the abbey church. The spire of the church is seen at the left of the arches, with the small spire of the Pends of the Frater Hall to the left, with the Frater range to the left of this. This view is from the south-west of the abbey. There is a similar view, though from directly south, on folio 3 (D26440), one of a number of views of the church and monastery from the glen in this sketchbook: folios 3–5 verso (D26440–D26445).
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

Wallace-Hadrill and Carolan 1990, p.15.

Read full Catalogue entry


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