Joseph Mallord William Turner

Glen Croe Looking North-West to Ben Arthur


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 101 × 158 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCLXXI 14 a

Catalogue entry

This sketch has been identified as a view along Glen Croe to Ben Arthur.1 It must have been made from the east end of Glen Croe near Ardgartan, as it looks north-west up the glen and towards Ben Arthur. At the right is the Croe Water and at the left is the road to the south of the river. Two coaches and a number of people occupy the road; these may be fellow travellers who journeyed with Turner from Loch Fyne through Glen Kinglas and Glen Croe (see Tate D26551; Turner Bequest CCLXX 58a) to Loch Long.
This sketch therefore helps us to determine part of Turner’s route. As David Wallace-Hadrill and Janet Carolan have shown, Turner climbed Ben Arthur before rounding the head of Loch Long to reach Arrochar.2 As he travelled the length of Glen Croe, he must have reached the summit of Ben Arthur from the eastern path that climbs between Ben Arthur and Beinn Narnain, and returned by the same route. This is the easiest way to the mountain, and is still the most popular way up today. Sketches in the Stirling and the West sketchbook document Turner’s time on the mountain (Tate D26552–D26556; Turner Bequest CCLXX 59–61).

Thomas Ardill
November 2009

David Wallace-Hadrill and Janet Carolan, ‘Turner Round the Clyde and In Islay – 1831’, 1991, Tate catalogue files, ‘checklist’ folio 8.
Ibid., folios 5–7.

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