Joseph Mallord William Turner

Fort Augustus from Loch Ness

1831

Not on display

Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Graphite on paper
Dimensions
Support: 180 × 150 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D26992
Turner Bequest CCLXXVI 16

Catalogue entry

The four sketches of Fort Augustus on this page were made from the southern end of Loch Ness. At the top of the page (with the sketchbook held so that the fore-edge is at the right) is a slight sketch with a shape at the centre that suggests a canal towpath and hills in the background. This must be a view either north-east or south-west along the Caledonian Canal or River Oich. The second sketch down certainly looks north-east along the River Oich towards the Old River Oich Bridge at the left, with the Caledonian Canal running parallel to it to the right. Both flow out to Loch Ness beyond the bridge. At the right, beneath the hills that line the eastern shore of the loch, are the buildings that make up the remains of the original military fort (see folio 13; D26986). This view may have been made from the last lock gate above the canal.
With the sketchbook inverted are two further sketches. The third down again looks north-east towards Loch Ness with the River Oich (left) and the Caledonian Canal (right) running parallel in the foreground. On the river in the distance is the dark silhouette of a boat; perhaps the same that is seen in the final sketch.
At the bottom of the page is a view looking south-west along either the river or canal with a sailing boat moored at the bank. In the distance are the Loch Lochy Hills to the south-west. There are more finished drawings of this view on folios 17 and 17 verso (D26994, D26995).
For references to further sketches of Fort Augustus, including the sketch that became the basis of Turner’s watercolour, Fort Augustus, Loch Ness circa 1833 (private collection),1 see folio 18 (D26996).

Thomas Ardill
April 2010

1
Andrew Wilton, J.M.W. Turner: His Life and Work, Fribourg 1979, p.434 no.1129.

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