Joseph Mallord William Turner

Oban Bay; and View North from Gallanach Road With Dunollie Castle


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 116 × 186 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCLXXIII 59 a

Catalogue entry

The sketch of Oban Bay at the bottom of the page belongs to a series on folios 58–59 (D26854–D26856). The present view, made from the south-west of the bay, looks towards the quay with the large outflow at the right (also seen on folio 58 verso; D26855). The focus of the sketch is a boat with two masts and a gaff-rigged sail. Although one of the sails is raised, it is slack, and the boat is anchored at the bow. It is perhaps preparing to sail, with the rowing boat to its stern bringing passengers on board.
At the top of the page is a sketch of the view up the Sound of Kerrera, looking north from Gallanach Road, with Dunollie Castle on the right and Kerrera at the left. This sketch belongs to a series of three sketches of the same view on folio 60 (D26858). In these, Turner was particularly interested in the sky, and may have been recording its changing appearance during a sunset or sunrise. The same colours are observed in the present sketch, with a ‘Red’ (or ‘pink’) area at the right, ‘gold light’ noted over a shaded area left of centre and ‘yellow’ above, with ‘grey’ to the left. See folio 60 for further information about the view and references.

Thomas Ardill
February 2010

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