Joseph Mallord William Turner

Four Sketches of Doune Castle


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 190 × 113 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCLXIX 61

Catalogue entry

With the sketchbook turned to the left Turner has used this page for four sketches of Doune Castle. The top three sketches were made from the south-east and include Ardoch Burn in the foreground. David Wallace-Hadrill and Janet Carolan have commented that Turner has paid ‘less attention to the building than to the composition of the heavily-treed slopes at its foot’.1 While it is true that the burn, its banks and the trees and foliage all interested Turner a great deal in these sketches, and that, as a group, they represent variations on a composition, Turner has recorded the architecture of the castle with a good deal of care, even though it was not necessary for him to add much detail here. The word ‘Dark’ is inscribed on the water of the third sketch.
The sketch at the bottom of the page shows the castle again, though this time with just a few vertical lines that make it difficult to be certain of the viewpoint. In the foreground, however, is a building with a mill wheel. The nearest mill to the castle was the Mill of Doune, which stands on the bank of Ardoch Burn to the north-east of the castle. This view may therefore be from the north-east. There are further sketches of the mill on folio 62 (D26376).
For further information and a full list of Turner’s sketches of the castle, see folio 52 verso (D26358).

Thomas Ardill
November 2010

Wallace-Hadrill and Carolan 1990, Vol.10 No.2, p.29.

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