Joseph Mallord William Turner

Dunfermline: Town Hall and Monastery

1831

In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Graphite on paper
Dimensions
Support: 201 x 125 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D26443
Turner Bequest CCLXX 4 a

Catalogue entry

Across the top half of this page and continuing on folio 5 (D26444) is a sketch of a tree-covered bank and a tower with a small spire at the top right. This is Dunfermline Glen from which Turner made several sketches of Dunfermline Abbey (e.g. folio 4; D26442). David Wallace-Hadrill and Janet Carolan have identified the tower as the Old Town House (or Town Hall) on the corner of the High Street and Kirkgate.1 If this identification is correct then the sketch is not particularly accurate as there is no sign of the four corner turrets beneath the spire.
Across the bottom half of the page is a sketch of part of the ruins of the Palace of Dunfermline, with a turreted stone window at the top and part of the Pends to the right. Turner made a diagram of some of the windows of the palace at the bottom of folio 6 (D26446).
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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