Joseph Mallord William Turner

?Naworth Castle


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 114 × 187 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCLXVI 29

Catalogue entry

During the last few days of July 1831 Turner was around Penrith making sketches in preparation for illustrations to Sir Walter Scott’s Poetical Works.1 The list of possible suggestions that he was working from had been drawn up in March and sent to him on 1 April that year, and included a number of suggestions that were later dropped.2 One of these was Naworth Castle, a site that may have interested Sir Walter Scott because of the plot by its one-time owner Thomas Howard to marry Mary Queen of Scots.
Naworth is situated near the town of Brampton, about thirteen miles north-east of Carlisle. This constitutes a detour from Turner’s route between Carlisle and the western Scottish Border, and explains why there are sketches of nearby Walton in the Rokeby and Appleby sketchbook (Tate D25605; Turner Bequest CCLXIV 42).
The two sketches on this page may represent Naworth Castle. At the top of the page is a view of Castle Beck which splits at the western corner of the castle, with the northern side of the castle on the right bank. Above the trees is the tower at the north-west of the quadrangle, with part of the Dacre Tower behind it.
Beneath this is a sketch of the fourteenth-century Dacre Tower which was added to the manor house when it was crenellated by Ranulph Dacre in 1335. The view is taken from across Castle Beck just to the north-east of the castle. The original castle was largely destroyed by fire in 1844 with reconstruction work beginning in the 1850s.3
At the left of the page is the continuation from folio 28 verso (D25816) of a sketch of King Arthur’s Round Table near Penrith.

Thomas Ardill
September 2009

Turner arrived in Penrith on 28 July 1931, see Gerald Finley, Landscapes of Memory: Turner as Illustrator to Scott, London 1980, p.91.
Finley 1980, p.243.
‘The History of Naworth’, Naworth Castle, accessed 14 April 2009,

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