Joseph Mallord William Turner

Five Sketches of Loch Leven, Kinross

1834

Not on display

Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Graphite on paper
Dimensions
Support: 184 × 117 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D26711
Turner Bequest CCLXXII 24 a

Catalogue entry

David Wallace-Hadrill and Janet Carolan have interpreted the five sketches on this page as indicating ‘a loch, an island and a ruined castle’, and have concluded that they represent ‘Loch Leven’ with Lochleven Castle and, in some sketches, the larger St Serf’s Island. The authors have also read the inscription above the second sketch down as ‘Mary’, referring to Queen Mary I, who was imprisoned in Lochleven Castle. They read the inscription across the third sketch as ‘Portmoak’, referring to the village to the east of the loch.1
The five sketches can therefore be identified as follows from top to bottom:
At the top is a view across the loch (perhaps from Kinross) with the island and Lochleven Castle at the right, and the Lomond Hills in the distance. The sketch beneath seems to have been made from the south of the loch and looks north, with the wooded St Serf’s Island at the centre. The ruins of Culdee Priory can be made out in some of these sketches of the island. St Serf’s is seen again in the third sketch down, with the Lomond Hills at the right and the inscription ‘Portmoak’, indicating the site of Portmoak Moss and the parish of Portmoak. Beneath is a very similar view again with the Lomond Hills and St Serf’s. The sketch at the bottom of the page seems to have been made from further off and again shows St Serf’s Island.
For references to further sketches of Loch Leven see folio 25 verso (D26708; CCLXXII 23).

Thomas Ardill
October 2010

1
Wallace-Hadrill and Carolan 1990, vol.10 no.1, p.21.

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