Joseph Mallord William Turner

Gylen Castle from the West; and Mull from Gylen Castle, Kerrera

1831

In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Graphite on paper
Dimensions
Support: 116 x 186 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D26873
Turner Bequest CCLXXIII 67 a

Catalogue entry

This is the first of four close-up sketches of Gylen Castle from the west: folios 66–67 verso (D26870–D26873). The present sketch shows the castle ruin perched on a steep precipice at the south of the island of Kerrera. In the right foreground we look down from the cliffs to the inlet of Port a’ Chaisteil, with a series of crags to the west. Beyond that is the Firth of Lorn with the coast of Argyll and the islands of Luing and Scarba, and Cruach Scarba at the right.
At the bottom left of the page, drawn with the sketchbook inverted, is a sketch that Turner labelled ‘Mull’. David Wallace-Hadrill and Janet Carolan assumed that the sketch must depict the view from the castle of the Argyll coast to the south, and that Turner’s inscription must therefore have been wrong.1 However, the ‘Bay’ labelled in the foreground (which must be Port a’ Chaisteil again), the cliffs rising to the right with water to the left, and the mountainous terrain in the background are all consistent with a view west from near Gylen Castle towards the Isle of Mull. Indeed, the highest peak in the background matches that of Creach Beinn on Mull very well. The snaking path in the foreground follows the coast around the south of the island.
This is just one of twenty-five sketches that Turner made of Gylen Castle: folios 63 verso–75 verso (D26865–D26889); see folio 73 verso (D26885) for further information.

Thomas Ardill
February 2010

1
Wallace-Hadrill and Carolan 1991, p.28.

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