Joseph Mallord William Turner

Dunstanburgh Castle: The Eastern Tower, with Figures under the Cliff


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 135 × 95 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest XL 80 a

Catalogue entry

Inverted relative to the sketchbook’s foliation, this composition is continued on folio 83 recto opposite (D01600; Turner Bequest XL 81). Unexpectedly, this very summary sketch is a view of part of Dunstanburgh Castle on the coast of Northumberland, which Turner had visited in 1797; see the North of England sketchbook (Tate D00952–D00954; Turner Bequest XXXIV 45, 46, 46a). A more detailed drawing of the same tower (the Lilburn Tower) occurs on folios 84 verso–85 recto of the present book (D01603–D01604; Turner Bequest XL 82a–83).
It has been proposed that Turner returned to the Northumberland coast in 1799 and made these drawings then; but they may have been based on the studies in the North of England book. A further drawing of the Lilburn Tower, with an effect of lightning, occurs in the Wilson sketchbook (Tate D01211–D01212; Turner Bequest XXXVII 94–95).
Drawings of Bamburgh, another castle on the Northumberland coast, occur on folios 86 verso–87 recto and 88 verso–89 recto (D01607–D01608, D01611–D01612; Turner Bequest XL 84a–85, 86a–87).

Andrew Wilton
May 2013

Read full Catalogue entry


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