Joseph Mallord William Turner

Melrose Abbey: The Interior of the North Transept


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 370 × 274 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest XXXV 16

Catalogue entry

There are three views of Melrose in this book, here and on folios 23 recto and 24 recto (D40551, D01020; Turner Bequest XXXV 17, 18). Two others are in the contemporary North of England sketchbook (Tate D00969, D00970; Turner Bequest XXXIV 60, 61). Turner scholar David Hill thinks that the weather must have been exceptionally good for Turner to have spent so much time out of doors making his elaborate exterior views, and though there is no reason to suppose that he necessarily had a ‘deep blue sky’; elsewhere on the tour, Hill infers from ill-defined distances that Turner endured rain and mist.1 Whatever the weather, he was outside for much of the time on this tour, as on most others. He returned to Melrose in 1831 and 1834 to make smaller and quicker studies for his illustrations to the works of Scott, in the Abbotsford and Edinburgh sketchbooks (Tate; Turner Bequest CCLXVII and Turner Bequest CCLXVIII).2
Hill 1996, p.106.
See Gerald Finley, Landscapes of Memory: Turner as Illustrator to Scott, London 1980, and the relevant sections of the present catalogue.
Blank; stamped in brown ink with Turner Bequest monogram; inscribed by A.J. Finberg in pencil ‘141.16’.

Andrew Wilton
August 2010

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