Joseph Mallord William Turner

Oban From the Sound of Kerrera


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 96 a

Catalogue entry

The two sketches on this page were presumably made from the deck of a boat on the Sound of Kerrera. David Wallace-Hadrill and Janet Carolan have identified the sketch towards the page gutter as a view of Oban from the north, and the sketch drawn towards the fore-edge of the page with the sketchbook inverted as Oban and Dunollie Castle from the west.1
The Oban sketch shows Oban Bay with the town nestled between hills. Turner used Oban as a base to explore the islands of Skye, Mull and Staffa before steaming north to Inverness via Fort William (see folio 58 verso; D26855). There is a similar, though more detailed, view of the town in the Sound of Mull No.1 sketchbook (Tate D26940; Turner Bequest CCLXXIV 3). The second sketch shows a view south down the Sound of Kerrera from the north of Dunollie, with the castle at the far left of the sketch and Kerrera at the right. Turner may have made this sketch during his journey up Loch Linnhe at the start of his journey to Inverness.

Thomas Ardill
February 2010

Wallace-Hadrill and Carolan 1991, p.29.

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