Joseph Mallord William Turner

Oban from 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 93 a

Catalogue entry

David Wallace-Hadrill and Janet Carolan have identified these two sketches as Oban from Dunollie Castle.1 Turner visited Dunollie Castle while he was staying at Oban, which he used as a temporary base for journeys around the Western Isles, and made a number of studies of the ruins: for details see folio 95 (D26928). This sketch demonstrates that he must have climbed up to the cliffs on which the castle sits to see these views of Oban, Kerrera, Argyll and Mull.
The top sketch looks towards Oban Bay which is nestled between cliffs on either side. Here, just left of centre, the town of Oban is represented by a few squares. The sketch beneath is more expansive, looking over the cliffs and along the bay to Oban and beyond it to the Gallanach Cliffs. The town is again represented by a series of squares or boxes, but there is also what looks like a tall chimney with smoke coming from it. Across the Sound of Kerrera is the island of Kerrera, mainly hidden by shrubbery in the foreground at the right. In the left foreground there appear to be two female figures, one behind the other. They are either walking along the cliffs or joining us in enjoying the view.
There are further views from Dunollie Castle, or from nearby, on folios 94 verso and 96 (D26927, D26930).

Thomas Ardill
February 2010

Wallace-Hadrill and Carolan 1991, p.29, as (1) Oban Bay from Dunollie Castle? (2) Oban Bay from north’.

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