Joseph Mallord William Turner

Foyers Lower Falls from the East; and a Sketch of Loch Ness


Not on display

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 150 × 179 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCLXXVI 26

Catalogue entry

With the sketchbook turned to the right, David Wallace-Hadrill and Janet Carolan debated whether there are three or four sketches on this page.1 The uncertainty was whether the slope of the hill at the left was part of the same sketch as the two hill slopes to the right. Some confusion may have arisen by Wallace-Hadrill’s copy of Turner’s sketch which omits part of the waterfall and stream, making it difficult to understand the image. A close examination of Turner’s sketch reveals that the water starts at the top left of the sketch about a hundred metres below the Upper Fall of Foyers. It then curves to the left before going right again where the water disappears behind a slender tree. Here is the Lower Fall, though the waterfall itself is obscured behind a rock; the continuation of the stream can be seen at the bottom of the sketch to the right of the tree. A view from the east of the Lower Falls matches this view, although the hill to the right (Creag Bhreac) is in reality broader than Turner suggests. This slight distortion may be a result of the artist trying to fit a wider panorama into the sketch than the page width would allow.
An outline of the same hills with trees in the lower foreground is repeated at the very bottom of the page with a small sketch above it inscribed ‘Loch Ness’. Again David Wallace-Hadrill’s copy is deceptive, suggesting that the sketch depicts a tower on a hillside. This tower shape in fact depicts water and stones in the sketch above. Therefore this is simply an outline of the opposite shore of Loch Ness, seen from the hillside across the loch by the falls. The same shaped outline can be observed in Turner’s full-page sketch of Loch Ness from the top of the falls on the reverse of this page (folio 26 verso; D27013).
For references to further sketches made at the Falls of Foyers, see folio 40 verso (D27034).

Thomas Ardill
April 2010

In their collaborative, unpublished notes David Wallace-Hadrill wrote ‘four separate sketches?’ to which Janet Carolan responded ‘a & b could be 1 sketch’. David Wallace-Hadrill and Janet Carolan, ‘Turner’s 1831 Sketchbook T.B. CCLXXVI Fort Augustus’, [circa 1992–3], Tate catalogue files, [unpaginated], ‘CCLXXVI/ 26’.

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