Joseph Mallord William Turner

Hermitage Castle, Lidderdale

1831

In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Graphite on paper
Dimensions
Support: 187 × 114 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D25891
Turner Bequest CCLXVI 66

Catalogue entry

Six small studies drawn across the present page and folio 66 verso (D25892) show Hermitage Castle from a variety of positions that reveal that Turner initially approached the castle from the east, and then followed the course of the Hermitage Water (which runs along it to the south) to reach its western side, before walking right around the castle at close quarters.
When the two pages are examined in relation to the entire group of Hermitage Castle sketches (folios 63 verso–67, 68 verso; D25886–D25893, D25896) they reveal that Turner either made two circuits of the castle – approaching from the east and then walking right round to the north-west (folios 63–65 verso), before returning to the east to complete another circuit (folios 66–66 verso) and then going west (folios 67, 68 verso) – or that he used folios 66 and 66 verso to make small studies alternating with other pages of the sketchbook for larger, more considered drawings.
The three views on the present page, used with the sketchbook turned to the left, are from the east (top), from just to the east of the footbridge over the Hermitage Water to the south-east of the castle (middle), and from the north-east with Dinley Fell behind to the left, and Hermitage Hill at the right (bottom).
Turner visited Hermitage Castle in preparation for an illustration to volume 3 of Sir Walter Scott’s Poetical Works: Hermitage Castle circa 1832 (watercolour, private collection).1

Thomas Ardill
September 2009

1
Andrew Wilton, J.M.W. Turner: His Life and Work, Fribourg 1979, p.428 no.1077.

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