Joseph Mallord William Turner

Interior of St Bride’s Church, Douglas, with the Douglas Tombs, Lanarkshire


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 113 x 190 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCLXIX 24 a

Catalogue entry

David Wallace-Hadrill has identified the rough sketches on this page and folio 25 verso (D26308) as studies of the tombs in St Bride’s Chapel in Douglas, Lanarkshire.1 Turner visited the village, and the nearby Douglas Castle, to make sketches for a potential illustration to Sir Walter Scott’s Novel, Castle Dangerous, 1831; see folio 24 (D26305).
The church’s chancel, which in 1834 was in a derelict state, houses three tombs of the Black Douglas family. Looking towards the east end, this sketch depicts the north wall of the chancel with two of the tombs. On the left is the tomb of Sir James Douglas (died 1330), consisting of an elaborately carved arched canopy with a stone effigy below. Turner has outlined the canopy and made a rough outline of the effigy. James Douglas features as a character in Scott’s Castle Dangerous.
To the right is the tomb of Archibald, fifth Earl of Douglas (circa 1390/1–1439), a slightly smaller, though more elaborate tomb beneath an arched window consisting of a stone canopy covering an effigy with a carved frieze below, which Turner has indicated in his sketch. To the right of this tomb should be the east window, though the diamond shape drawn by Turner does not suggest it. Perhaps this is how the window looked at that time. The same feature can be seen at the left of folio 25 verso. On that page Turner sketched the tombs of James, seventh Earl of Douglas (died 1443), and Lady Beatrice de Sinclair.

Thomas Ardill
October 2010

David Wallace-Hadrill, ‘CCLXIX’, [circa 1991], Tate catalogue files, unpaginated MS.

Read full Catalogue entry

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