Joseph Mallord William Turner

Loch Katrine With Ellen’s Isle; and Two Sketches of ?Loch Slapin, Skye


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 125 × 201 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCLXX 41 a

Catalogue entry

Rather than ‘Lady’s rock in the Sound of Mull’ as Finberg suggested,1 the note ‘Lady Isle’ (or perhaps, ‘Lady Lake’), which is inscribed on the sketch at the centre of this page, must refer to Eilean Molach (or Ellen’s Isle), the island in Loch Katrine that was the setting for Sir Walter Scott’s poem, Lady of the Lake. The sketch resembles other depictions of Loch Katrine in this sketchbook with Eilean Molach and Ben Venue (see folio 47; D26528).
The other two sketches are harder to identify but were perhaps made on the Isle of Skye during a later part of Turner’s 1831 tour. At the fore-edge of the page, drawn with the book inverted, is a sketch of a loch and hills inscribed at the centre with a word that could read ‘Skye’, and at the left ‘B of Slat’ – perhaps referring to the Bay of Sleat. This may therefore be a sketch of Loch Slapin as in folio 74 verso (D26583). At the bottom right of the page, again drawn with the sketchbook inverted, is another sketch of a loch and hills. This carries the inscriptions ‘Eig’ and ‘Loch + Bay of [?]Sconsay’.2 Therefore Loch Slapin is again a possibility, with a view south from around Torrin Beach towards the mouth of the sea loch and the island of Eigg.

Thomas Ardill
June 2010

Finberg 1909, II, p.869.
David Wallace-Hadrill has read this final word as ‘Colonsay’ referring to an island between Islay and Mull (David Wallace-Hadrill, ‘St & West CCLXX’ [handwritten inventory list], Tate catalogue files). However, a view of Colonsay has not been matched to this sketch. Many of the Western Isles of Scotland end in ‘say’, meaning that there are a number of possibilities for this inscription.

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