Joseph Mallord William Turner

Gylen Castle, Kerrera and the Firth of Lorn from the North


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 116 × 186 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCLXXIII 75 a

Catalogue entry

This is the first of twenty-five pages of sketches of Gylen Castle on the island of Kerrera (folios 63 verso–75 verso; D26865–D26889).1 Along with views on folios 74–75 (D26886–D26888), this view is from the north and shows the castle standing on a headland rock at the south of the island. There is another headland at the left from which Turner stood to make some of his sketches of the castle (see folio 70; D26889), and beyond the island is the Firth of Lorn with the coast of Argyll at the left and Mull at the right, and several islands (probably the Garvellachs) in between.

Thomas Ardill
February 2010

Although David Wallace-Hadrill and Janet Carolan considered this sketch to be among the last that Turner made of Gylen Castle as he was ‘withdrawing northwards towards the island track’, this assessment contradicts their own statement that the Staffa sketchbook ‘has to be read backwards’. (Wallace-Hadrill and Carolan 1991, pp.20, 28.) Although it is impossible to know for certain in what order Turner executed his sketches of Gylen Castle, it is possible to read them as starting on folio 75 verso with his approach to the castle from the north, and ending at folio 63 verso when he drew out of sight of the castle as he walked away from it to the west (see folio 73 verso; D26885).

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