Joseph Mallord William Turner

Interior of a Church, Roslin Chapel


Not on display
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 90 x 112 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CLXVI 58

Catalogue entry

Previously unidentified, this sketch shows the inside of Roslin (or Rosslyn) Chapel looking east towards the alter. The nave is flanked with a double level of arches and there are two arches in front of the alter, with a stained glass window above. Turner has used zigzag lines to indicate the decoratively arched roof.
As well as Roslin Castle and Chapel, ‘Rosslyn Chapel. Interior of the East End’ was also a subject covered by Scott’s Provincial Antiquities with an engraving by Henry Le Keux after Edward Blore,1 although Scott declined to add a written description. Although Turner may have made this drawing with this commission in mind, its rapid nature, and the fact that there is only one sketch, suggests that he did not intend to work the subject up into a painting, and merely drew it for interest and general reference.
Roslin Chapel is decoratively carved throughout including intricately carved pillars, Green Men, and several unexplained motifs. The chapel is thought by many to have connections to the Knights Templar and the Freemasons, although there is no conclusive evidence for these claims.

Thomas Ardill
January 2008

Sir Walter Scott, Provincial Antiquities and Picturesque Scenery of Scotland with descriptive illustrations by Sir Walter Scott, Bart., Number V, Vol.II, London and Edinburgh, 1826, p.205.

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