Joseph Mallord William Turner

Dunollie Castle; and Loch Etive from near Oban


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 116 × 186 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCLXXIII 95 a

Catalogue entry

Across the lower half of the page (held so that the spine is at the top) is a sketch inscribed ‘Etive’, which probably shows a view towards Loch Etive with the River Awe in the foreground, from about a mile to the east of Taynuilt. A sliver of the loch is visible in the middle distance with the mountain of Beinn Duirinnis straight ahead.
Turner had travelled to Taynuilt and onto Loch Etive from Loch Awe (folio 85; D26908). He reached the water’s edge at Bonawe Iron Works just north of Taynuilt (folio 84; D26906) and travelled west along the loch to Dunstaffnage Castle (see folio 84 verso; D26907) and onto Oban (folio 58 verso; D26855). There are further views of Loch Etive on folios 81–84 verso, 86, 90 verso and 92 verso (D26900–D26907, D26910, D26919, D26923).
Above the Loch Etive view is a sketch of a ruined building with a tower that Finberg has identified as ‘Dunolly Castle’ near Oban, although David Wallace-Hadrill was less certain.1 Dunollie, however, does seem to be a good identification for the castle, similar looking sketches of which are on folios 94 verso and 95 (D26927, D26928). Turner’s sketch also quite closely matches the castle as it stands today with two windows above a door on the south-east side, and the remains of connected buildings projecting from the southern corner at the left and the north-east wall at the right. See folio 95 for references to all of Turner’s sketches of the castle.
At the right of the page, drawn with the sketchbook turned to the left, is the continuation from folio 96 (D26930) of a sketch that has been identified as Oban Bay and the Sound of Kerrera, as seen from Dunollie Castle. This half of the sketch shows the island of Kerrera with Mull in the background, which may be labelled above. Drawn above are some further sketchy details of islands or hills.

Thomas Ardill
February 2010

Finberg 1909, II, p.878, CCLXXIII 95a; Wallace-Hadrill and Carolan 1991, p.29, as ‘Unidentified’. The usual spelling for the castle is now ‘Dunollie’, though Finberg follows many early writers in his spelling, ‘Dunolly’.

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