Joseph Mallord William Turner

Loch Ard: Towards Ledard Water

1834

Not on display

Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Graphite on paper
Dimensions
Support: 184 × 119 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D26673
Turner Bequest CCLXXII 4

Catalogue entry

David Wallace-Hadrill and Janet Carolan have identified Turner’s inscription at the left of the page as ‘Ledard Wot’, which they have interpreted as a reference to Ledard Burn, which runs down the southern slope of Ben Venue to Loch Ard. Above the inscription is a small sketch which therefore may look north towards the waterfall from the northern shore of Loch Ard near Kinlochard. The other three sketches on the page are likely to be of the shores of Loch Ard. At the bottom right of the page, drawn with the book turned to the right, is a sketch of mountains across water. The sketch may be inscribed ‘Ledard’ and probably looks south across Loch Ard.
At the top of the page are two further sketches. The first shows a stream flowing down a mountainside. This may be Ledard Burn flowing into Loch Ard. Beneath is a rather rough sketch that may show mountains, or perhaps clouds. It is surrounded by undecipherable inscriptions that may be colour notes.
Turner is likely to have known about the description of the waterfall at Ledard (or ‘Lediart’) Burn in Walter Scott’s novel Rob Roy, 1817, if not from a familiarity with the novel then from Scott’s publisher Robert Cadell, who had commissioned him to illustrate a proposed new edition of the Waverley Novels. Cadell may have showed him James Skene’s etching and description which he had published in 1829.1 Turner may have been considering a view of Ledard Burn for his own illustration to Rob Roy, though his sketches provide limited source material, and he would have had to add much from his memory and imagination.
For further sketches of Loch Ard, see folio 3 verso (D26677; CCLXXII 6).

Thomas Ardill
November 2010

1
James Skene, A series of sketches of the existing localities alluded to in the Waverley Novels, Edinburgh and London 1829, pp.51–52 reproduced as ‘Lediart’ between pp.50–51.

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