Joseph Mallord William Turner

Firth of Forth


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 111 × 181 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCLXVIII 85

Catalogue entry

Finberg identified this sketch of a harbour as the Firth of Forth,1 presumably because of the island to the right, which resembles Inchkeith near Leith. Therefore this be may a sketch of Leith Harbour with Inchkeith to the north at the right. The island may be depicted again on folios 77 verso and 78 verso (D26242, D26244). Sketches scattered throughout this sketchbook depict points on the east coast of England including Whitby (folio 77 verso) and the Essex and Kent coast (folio 2 verso; D26098), indicating that at the end of his visit to Edinburgh, the artist returned south by boat. This is perhaps the artist’s first sketch of the homeward journey. Having nearly reached the end of the sketchbook, Turner began working backwards through the sketchbook, filling in blank pages (or space on partially used pages) with sketches of the coast and shipping.
There is a brown mark at the right of the page.

Thomas Ardill
January 2011

Finberg 1909, II, p.863.

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