Joseph Mallord William Turner

Kelso Abbey, North Transept


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 113 × 185 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCLXVII 58

Catalogue entry

Turner began his sketches of Kelso Abbey on the morning of 10 August 1831 with three meticulous studies from close quarters.1 The present page, which is inverted, shows the north transept – or north-west transept, as Kelso is unique in having transepts at the west and east. Turner has paid close attention to the diamond-patterned pediment above the Norman arched doorway, and has drawn a section of an arch at the top left of the page to record in detail its formation.
At the right of the page, with the sketchbook turned to the left, is a much less detailed sketch of a ruin. This is probably part of the nearby Roxburgh Castle which Turner also visited that day and drew on the opposite sketchbook page (folio 55 verso; D26023; CCLXVII 57a).
Other close-up studies are on folios 56 verso and 57 (D26025, DD26026; CCLXVII 58a, 59). See folio 19 verso (D25962; CCLXVII 19a) for more information on Turner’s visit to Kelso.

Thomas Ardill
September 2009

Robert Cadell, ‘Abbotsford Diary’, Wednesday 10 August 1831, National Library of Scotland, MS Acc.5188, Box 1, folio 111; transcribed in Gerald E. Finley, ‘J.M.W. Turner and Sir Walter Scott: Iconography of a Tour’, Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes, vol.31, 1972, p.384.

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